Journalists are a varied and diverse bunch. We write stories about as much as we can about the world around us - from food, to sports, politics, conspiracy theories and fashion. We serve an important role within our respective societies: to keep you informed about what we think matters, which often coincides with what matters to us, and to share our opinions. A balanced society requires a balanced coverage of all these various issues with, I believe, particular emphasis on issues that can affect the well-being of a nation or others abroad: environmental issues, economy, politics, world news etc.
Of course, since I write about most of these topics, I admit to a certain bias.
Every day we, the authors of BlastingNews, get a newsletter of the top 15 topics trending on Google in the U.S. The idea is to provide us with popular topics whilst encouraging us to provide different views and perspectives on them. We are, of course, also encouraged to write about anything else that interests us, but there is no harm in knowing how much that issue currently also interests the public. For the past four days I have checked this e-mail hoping to find a saucy topic to write about. For the past four days, however, the top fifteen topics have been solely related to college #Football, with one or two articles on the U.S. Open. This culminated yesterday, on September 5th, when the top fifty stories were entirely about American football except for three!
As a writer and a journalist I have written for numerous outlets across the globe. Each outlet usually has a core audience of loyal readers but all outlets in a nation are subject to the general public opinion, and the public's interest in a particular subject.
Of all national audiences I've written for, the U.S. public seems to be the hardest to involve. There is one simple reason for that, I believe. The American public seems to be primarily interested in sports and entertainment, and the ever-speedier news cycle in this country has conditioned many to be able to pay attention to any given story only for a very limited time. This only allows a superficial understanding of the issue(s). Nobody wants to come home after a hard day's toil to face other people's problems, and when they do they prefer to hear about it in a soundbite that will stimulate an emotional reaction - the illusion of being informed.
Certainly there are things going on in the world right now that matter more than college football, but for some reason the majority of Americans simply do not want to know about them. How is a writer meant to introduce readers to new topics and perspectives when their field of vision is so narrowly focused on, yes, and amazing sport but, also, a rather trivial past-time? It must be a great time to be a sports journalist right now - and good on you if you are! You are certainly not at fault here.
But for those of us who serve the just-as-important job of trying to keep the public informed about issues other than sports the question is: how can we engage a public that is simply not interested in hearing about the uncomfortable issues that matter to our society and others? We either change what we write and betray our passion, or we keep attempting to involve an audience. The former may be an easier way, and one that many of us take, but one not everyone is comfortable with. For the rest of us who insist on pursuing our passions all we can hope to do is keep writing and hope that our articles may be picked up and make a difference. I can assure you, there is very little money to be made in that.