Clickbait in the news media


One of the most common forms of getting someone’s attention online is the use of clickbait. Clickbait, by definition, is the content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page. I was a victim to this clickbait when USA Today posted an article titled “Liam Neeson wanted to kill someone.”

Once clicking on the article, I see that it’s not solely about Liam Neeson at all. One of the stories features him, however, the article’s main focus is what happened in news this week. The top story is about Liam Neeson, but as you read more, you can find political news and more global worming coverage.

This is a problem that I have encountered not only with this specific article, but with many news sites and articles around the internet. This wasn’t too much of a problem before the internet became prominent in the journalism world as the phrase “clickbait” hadn’t even become a phrase.

Clickbait titles almost seem like a necessity now. Every news site uses them to draw in viewers and clicks on to articles. Although it can be a good marketing tactic to get more people on a web page, it makes stories more about drama than the actual story. These titles have crazy names like the one from USA Today. They make people think they have to read it because something couldn’t possibly be so crazy.

Behind these crazy titles, however, are just the same stories we are used to seeing. Even though the style of journalism behind them hasn’t changed too much, the titles still throw off viewers and generate more excitement or drama than the articles themselves.

Rather than trying to think of a great title to get people to click on their articles, they should focus on how they are reporting their news. We should try and give the facts rather than come up with a scandalous title.