News consumptionPosted: 25/09/2011
On weekdays I receive the news paper NRC Next. I try to read the paper every day but my news consumption is not entirely dependent of this paper. Nowadays we live in a high-choice environment with greater horizontal diversity (Prior, 2005). Great! Great?
News, news, news
I receive information through newspapers, internet and my smart phone. When I open the internet browser on my computer the news site Nu.nl shows up. Before even checking my mail I read all the headings of the news site. Nu.nl shows different categories. The ones I always read are the front page followed by remarkable news and I have to admit I also read the category gossip with news about celebrities (who does not?). In the morning I often check the website knmi.nl (weather forecast) because I cycle a lot (and I do not want to get wet!). Most of my news consumption takes place in the morning after getting up. I sometimes watch the news on television in the evening. If I watch the news on television, I only watch the ‘NOS Journaal’ or ‘RTL Nieuws’ because you receive news from all over the world and not only your own country like ‘Hart van Nederland’ (I have an aversion against that program because of Piet Paulusma, the man from the weather forecast but that is a different subject…).
The study of Prior (2005) describes that “…motivation, not ability, is the main obstacle that stands between an abundance of political information and a well- and evenly informed public” (p.589). I think Prior (2005) is right. There is enough information about politics in news papers, on the internet and on television. Even on Twitter and Facebook! Simultaneously, more and more entertainment channels arise on television (Prior, 2005). The question is: are you interested enough to read, watch things and discuss about this topic? My own interest in politics grew when I got voting rights. It grew even more when I started my study. I think certain people feel involved with (their own place in) the society and thereby follow politics.
Discussion? Anyone? Please?
I commented on the news site Trouw.nl (newspaper), in the category ‘Opinion’. People can give their comments on an article considering current issues in society. I commented on an article about the prohibition of wearing a burqa in the Netherlands. The article is written by Ruben Brunsveld, ex-lawyer from the department of Home Affairs. He states that a prohibition of wearing a burqa is an excessive violation against the right on privacy, in Dutch called ‘persoonlijke levenssfeer’. Nevertheless, he does not promote wearing a burqa. He thinks it is a moral right to help women ‘get out of the burqa’. Ruben Brunsveld posted his article on Saturday the 24th of September. One day later 39 people already commented, including myself. Different opinions were posted which makes it a varied discussion.
I had to write a contentious, critical comment on this article. Accidentally, it is also my real opinion in life: I wrote a comment why I am against wearing a burqa in the Netherlands. I slightly exaggerated to evoke some reaction and also named two people in my comment who already gave a comment to evoke a personal reaction. After posting my comment about 15 more people also commented. Not one of them reacted in a direct way on my post. One of the people I mentioned in my comment did gave a second reaction but not to me personally.
This topic about either to wear or not to wear a burqa is a sensitive subject to many people. Some proponents feel ‘attacked’ on their believing, their religion and give a reaction based on their feelings which is, in my opinion, not always the best way to discuss. At the same time some opponents also react emotionally and somewhat patriotic. Then there is another group of people reacting mainly with theoretical information which makes it hard to really understand what they are talking about. Reflecting on my own reaction, I wanted to soothe all the angry reactions and go back to what this discussion is really about in my opinion: wearing cover-up clothes which makes it impossible to see the face (expression), only the eyes. Not an attack on a religion.
I do not think that all the comments together are a real discussion. It seems to me that people only want to give their opinion. That’s it. Before, I wrote down that this is a varied discussion. I think I have to change it in: a topic with varied opinions.
Prior, M. (2005). How Increasing Media Choice Widens Gaps in Political Knowledge and Turnout, American Journal of Political Science, vol.49 (3), pp. 577-592.