Who Are You Writing This For?
A critical review of an article has the role of analyzing all elements that make a piece and of deciding on whether or not it corresponds to high journalistic norms, right? But what do you do if there is an audience for every type of article, no matter how badly it misses the target? If you review it and point out all the things the authors did wrong, who will read it? The people who already read it with pleasure, signed up to whatever the author is suggesting and even shared it as a good piece of writing? Or the people who keep to the norms and would usually avoid reading such articles anyway?
Why Write a Critical Review When There Are People Who Will Read the Article as Is Anyway?… And Like It
Flexible and inflexible norms
Every article is made up of these very small and lively elements called “words”. They are independent, can stand alone, but when they are put into this specific order, they make up articles and express ideas. The thing about words is that it is very difficult to stop someone from putting them together and compiling an article, even one that does not conform to the norms. Once written, any author can make his work public.
Specific publishing platforms will have their own sets of rules and will publish in accordance to them. The article must correspond to professional journalism norms or must at least avoid serious side-tracking. Other platforms will only concern themselves with how appealing the article is and how many people will click to read it.
It goes without saying that articles such the ones in the “click-bait” category are not the object of serious article reviews. Most of the times, the title of such pieces of work does not correspond to the body of the article you proceed to open. These are the worse examples of irrelevance and fake content and they should not be the subject of any professional paper.
However, while according to journalism norms some platforms are sanctioned and not considered authorities in the industry, others are praised for professionalism. How did norms change to fit all these types of platform? For starters, those that do not comply are allowed to function, proving a very free opinion market. Even so, their presence did not change the norms for the companies that still keep to rules of professional journalism.
How does audience come into play in this context? They must be aware of the source of information they choose and they become responsible for their own misinformation if they stick to it.
Exposing a lack of professionalism is a battle you need to pick wisely
When audiences are well aware of the low quality of information they willingly accept it. Some may even take everything with a glass of water. Others still enjoy superficial pieces of news but they double check the important stuff in other sources as well. Does this mean that the entertainment news platforms are left unchecked? Not even by far. But critics must pick their battles. Issues of professions ethics and morals have no echo with this specific audience, yet pointing out misinformation and a gross representation of facts, intentional misleading or anything else on this array can give them the jolt they need to sanction such a publication.
When the audience can and cannot tell the difference between a ‘story’ and a real story
Yes, we like mysteries and secrets. This is something tabloids have earned big money off for decades now. The question is whether audience manage to tell the difference between a real story, in the sense of presentation of facts and events, along with issues that have not been cleared, and the times when the publication is actually feeding them a story. In the sense of bedtime story.
All investigations eventually lead to places where instead of traces there are dots. The difference between a professional and a non-professional is that the first will make a true rendering of everything he has discovered, exactly as it was discovered. Including the dots. The other type of journalist, will connect the dots for the readers without ever mentioning that everything in between the unknown elements is his own fabrication. A good review will underline the fact that a large part of the article is the author’s own invention. Whether or not the audience will react to this is a different thing.
Review how well the author connects to the audience
Bottom line is that all articles must tell a story and speak to a specific audience. Whether or not the author relates to his public and how he adapts the approach of the story is another point to review. This is where the previous point is disregarded and you can only focus on how well the communication between author and public is established. After all, the main goal of any media outlet is to communicate information.
We can more easily accept the fact that while waiting for all the public to comply to journalistic norms, some types of material were simply adapted to make communication possible with all groups of consumers.
This is one of the reasons why in one of our other articles we mentioned types of audiences as one of the factors to discuss in any critical media review. On one hand, any review must take into account the way in which the tone of the article and the author’s approach are adapted to the type of audience. Therefore, with various types of media preferences and different types of audiences, it only makes sense to have articles for every taste. Under these circumstances, with so many accepted elements, you should adapt your review and focus on how well the message is sent across.