Junk food news

From Academic Kids

Junk food news refers to news stories that sensationalize, personalize or homogenize relatively inconsequential trivia in the mass media. It is a sardonic phrase which has the same meaning as journalistic noise. Typically, "junk food news" can be said to fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Brand name news (Stories about brand-name products, such as "New Coke")
  • Sexual titillation (Celebrity pregnancies, unusual sexual affairs and crimes)
  • 'Yo-yo news' (statistics that change daily, such as stock market numbers and movie box office totals)
  • Showbusiness news (box office opening news)
  • Latest craze news (Brief fads such as Furby, Pokémon, Segway)
  • Celebrity news (Celebrity gossip)
  • Anniversary news (Anniversary of a major event or celebrity death)
  • Sports news (sports rumours and gossip)
  • Political junk news

The term "junk food news" suggests an unflattering similarity in quality of some stories selected by news editors and junk food (poor quality food stuffs). It was first used in print by Carl Jensen in the March 1983 edition of Penthouse. The term evolved from response to criticism of Project Censored by news directors and editors who argued that the real issue wasn't censorship - rather a difference of opinion as to what information is important to publish or broadcast. Some critics tried to bolster this view with ad hominem comments about Carl Jensen. They said that he wasn't exploring media censorship, rather he was just another frustrated academic criticizing editorial news judgement.

See also: tabloid, yellow journalism, sensationalism

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