Monday, September 19, 2016

Wised-Up Consumers

Calli Whaley

With the blank canvases open on articles' comment sections and social media, consumers are given a stronger hand in influencing media.

Journalists can write article after article about how a news organization is doing something wrong or worse than another. But reading all of those takes more work than necessary. On Twitter, it's as easy as looking up a certain hashtag or word and hundreds of tweets about the desired topic show up. And you can see what people really think, not just the other professionals.

If a writer makes a mistake, someone comments about it. If a company advertises falsely, people pick up on it. As journalists are considered the watchdogs of the government, everyone in the general public is a watchdog of media.

Buzzfeed is notorious for stories that don't seem like news and quizzes you take with your friends. They're also infamous for all of the mistakes they make. For a while, they lived with it and made the appropriate changes when necessary. But now they’re going old school and working to siphon through the mistakes before publishing. They’re hiring copy editors.

The hoax stories and lack of verified facts became too much for consumers and those at BuzzFeed caught on to the frustration. They want to be trusted now, first and foremost.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Like any company, KFC is trying to sell their product. What appeals to people is its “comfort food” nature. But, in a generation huge on being healthier and eating better, KFC tried to keep up. So they knocked away the promotions of their greasy, deep fried crispy chicken and claimed it to be “slow cooked,” which is false.

They later added a donation promotion for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in which, if a person bought a pink bucket of chicken, 50 cents would be given to the foundation. This is what is referred to as “pinkwashing,” in which a company promotes something healthy through an unhealthy product, like fried chicken.

Consumers were all over it. They saw and tweeted about the hypocrisy in the promotion by KFC.

Consumer’s World
Media is a world entirely dependent on consumers. Journalists, advertisers, and everyone else in media are trying to constantly sell something to people. Journalists are trying to get readers. Advertisers are trying to sell for a company. None of this can happen if consumers don’t trust the organizations.

Those in media are constantly stuck between being ethical and selling as much as they want. BuzzFeed has had a lot of success in readership, but have fallen short in earning trust, given the many mistakes they've made. They’re fixing it. KFC is trying to sell its product and is trying to reach everyone, health freak and all. But in doing so, they lost sight of truth and transparency.

Consumers (all of us) can fairly easily pick up on what’s real and what’s not. This is why people are the media’s buffering system and watchdog. Without them, those in media would roam free with no one but each other to call them out.

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