Wrong! 78% of Arsenal fans have NOT called for Wenger to be sacked
It’s important to look beyond the headline. Modern journalism is suffering from a lack of interest and engagement from the public but more so from a lack of standards.
The competition for attention, and thus advertising revenue, is so great that paid for journalism faces an existential threat – win readers or die. The media’s response to this is to engage in clickbait headlines to steal reader’s attention. It is an effective method but it seems to be more akin to setting fire to a boat with a hole in it in the hope someone will see the smoke than a measured response to the apathy of the modern consumer of news.
As a result, the quality of the journalism suffers as interesting, well-written articles are eschewed in favour of short posts with snappy headlines. On the rare occasion a writer of note demonstrates the quality with which they earned their career it is marred by a disingenuous headline that distorts the facts being reported.
Take today for example, the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust issued the results of their survey/poll on the future of Arsène Wenger where 78% of the 550 people questioned stated they did not endorse a renewal of the manager’s contract. This is not indicative of Arsenal’s fan base or even the members of the AST. It is a snapshot of the views of a small proportion of people who happened to take the same survey. As far as I am aware no scientific polling measurements were applied.
Certainly there is a malaise amongst the fan base, and more measurably so with match-attending supporters but there is no evidence that a majority of Arsenal supporters are pro- or anti- a new contract for the manager. So why do the papers claim that over three quarters of us are against Wenger renewing his contract in their headlines?
The content in this article from the Independent accurately reports the facts, is well-presented and generally fair yet the headline has deliberately misrepresented those facts. ‘FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE ARSENAL FANS SAY THEY DON’T WANT WENGER TO SIGN A NEW CONTRACT’ is not nearly as interesting a story as ‘78% OF ARSENAL FANS WANT WENGER TO STEP DOWN’ but it is totally accurate.
I am not against the ‘sensationalising’ of headlines to sell papers and get clicks as long as it is factual. Newspapers are an invaluable part of an informed, educated society and I am an advocate for their survival but not at the expense of integrity and standards.
Reading through the Independent article, which I am unfairly singling out as the example here, actually had a ready-made sensationalist, factual headline. A similar survey in 2015 found that just 10% of AST members wanted the manager to step down. The increase in under two years is monumental – 10% to 78% is an epic swing and that right there is where you get your headline.
I believe that it is this kind of sensationalism that turns readers off the so-called mainstream media. It’s no longer authentic and mislead people do not trust these publications and writers to inform them. Editorial standards have dropped so far that the content is secondary to the headline and that is the greatest threat to traditional media I can think of.
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