Posted by: dylanfrederickblog | October 4, 2017

News Engagement: Learning about Puerto Rico

In the wake of the most devastating hurricane damage in United States History, I wondered how many of my peers and family members were aware of the unique and particularly devastating circumstances that were being experienced by Puerto Rico. Having seen a recent public poll by the Morning Consult that indicated more than half of America does not know Puerto Rick is a U.S territory, I wondered how my friends and family would respond to a news story about it.

I chose an article from the Wall Street Journal titled, “Trump Cites Storm’s Budget Impact in Puerto Rico Visit”. I decidedly selected four individuals who had media preferences that were different for each: My friend Jessica (33, Online news and local newspapers), My wife Heather (26, Facebook & Instagram), My sister Megan (32, Television news), and my friend Donny (31, News apps & websites). As I crafted the story for each person, I considered that person’s perspective toward President Trump (Who adds a level of incendiary controversy to the mildest friends). For my friend Donny, and my wife (spoken in person), I avoided some of the key phrases that were reiterated by news because I knew they consume media in a way that required quick, meaningful yet digestible points. I gave quick facts and explained the heart of the story. For my sister and friend Jessica, I provided an account (via Text Message) that was more of a story format.

I realized how challenging it was to convey the article in an informational and unbiased way.  When I re-crafted the story each time, I wanted to emphasize different parts and realized my emphasis was exposing my beliefs about the article.  I also wondered each time how I could make it more entertaining.  Each time I conveyed the story, the response of the recipient was somewhat aloof.   I pondered which words to change in the future to create a greater level of interest.  Having done this assignment, I feel hypocritical that I expect all news I consume to be unbiased and somewhat entertaining, but I know how challenging that is.

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