News that isn’t news

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
1 March, 2019

Scroll down your news feed, what do you see? Trump’s latest dumb tweet, an update on the crisis in Venezuela, maybe something on Brexit?

Unless you’re on the Economist, probably not. If you jump on any mainstream news website, you’re more likely to see something about the latest drama on Married at First Sight (MAFS), unruly tourists, or the latest limited-edition Cadbury or Whittaker’s chocolate bar.

Don’t get me wrong not everything is click bait and trashy news, there has been excellent coverage by both Stuff and the New Zealand Herald on the Nelson fires and the new proposed capital gains tax.

But sprinkled in between these stories are articles about Meghan Markle’s luxury baby shower and the latest affair on MAFS.

Why do people care that the Duchess of Sussex had a candyfloss machine and a harp at her baby shower? Maybe Meghan Markle has excellent taste in candyfloss machines and harps and people are looking for recommendations.

The same goes for Sam’s and Ines’s secret date on the latest episode of MAFS. Are people looking at ways to secretly cheat on their partner? I don’t think doing it on public TV is the best way to go about that.

I’ll admit that I was enthralled by the unruly tourist saga in early January. Almost everyone in New Zealand followed their exploits around the country.

The first video of Kiwi’s telling the unruly tourist to keep our beaches clean was inspiring. For a country touted as ‘clean and green’, seeing local New Zealanders defending our beaches was a story worth telling.

But why is there a story about the new Cadbury Crème Egg chocolate bar? This ‘story’ should be relegated to the banner ads on my web browser.

At the end of the day it’s all supply and demand. If people didn’t read this stuff, the news outlets wouldn’t supply it.

And with the sharp rise of internet usage over the last two decades, people demand content every waking hour of the day.

Who can blame people for wanting to read stories about celebrities? One can only read so much about capital gains tax in one day.

Now if you excuse me, I’m off to buy the new Cadbury Crème Egg chocolate bar.

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates