Category Archives: Blog Posts

Everything on Social Media is Not Real ?

D’Amonti Batton-Jackson

Everything on Social Media is Not Real?

While it is becoming trendy for millennials to gather news primarily from cell phone devices, news outlets are adapting to remain relevant. By integrating into social media platforms, news outlets/organizations are more accessible.  With teenagers spending

It is said that:

  • “90 % of Millennials are using smartphones, 93% are accessing the internet, and 53% own tablets.”
  • “More than 60% of U.S. 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters”
  • “27% of Millennials use Facebook less than once a week, and 11 % don’t even have an account”
  • “..59% of o9-16-year-olds active on social networking sites, 52% of them connected 24/7 via mobile phone or handheld device..


Clearly, being engaged is constantly at hand within the community of smartphone users. Social media plays a vital role in how we consume news now due to its instantaneous platform for information.


edelman-trust-baromoter-multiple-sourcesIs Social Media Newsworthy?

In examining the instance of Osama bin Laden being slain, it is said that Twitter first broke the news, not CNN or the New York Times.

“Before CNN or The New York Times confirmed that U.S. Navy SEALS did, in fact, kill Osama bin Laden, millions had already taken to their Twitter and Facebook pages to virally disperse the information.”

“If it wasn’t enough for the news to spread almost immediately via social media, one man caught his own 15 minutes of fame as he accidentally tweeted the raid as it occurred, not far from his home in Pakistan. Without realizing it, Sohaib Athar tweeted away about the pesky helicopters he heard overhead at 1:00a.m., which turned out to be U.S. forces descending upon bin Laden’s compound.


Sounds like news right?


istock_000012832686xsmallSo how does this tie into moral Panic?

How can someone validate the Tweets that were being sent out to confirm that in fact, it was the Navy SEALS ascending from helicopters in pursuit of Osama bin Laden? How can an initial tweet that shows bin Laden slain be taken as factual? In my opinion, it doesn’t have to be. In the world of social media, validity is assumed from popularity. The more people that agree with the certain topic/issue/ interest piece, the validation is confirmed by the previous naysayer, and you potentially validate it for the next. If the majority of people are using social media profiles, certainly it is expected that various news pieces would come across their news feed. So how can misinformation lead to moral panic? Let’s put this in theory.


So how can misinformation lead to moral panic? Let’s put this in theory.

Let’s put this in theory.

Step 1: Login to X (social media site)

Step 2: Scroll down news feed

Step 3: Read an article stating X (phenomenon that you fear)

Step 4: Share/Continuation of the information being spread through you

Step 5: Someone else reads the post, your status, tweet

Step 6: Recycle & repeat


By no means am I stating that this is the definite way social media spews out moral panic, but certainly people are more expressive through keyboards & smartphones.




Works Cited:

Could We Please Stop The Moral Panic Over Social Media ‘Addiction’?



Does news organizations support the continuation of moral panic?

D’Amonti Batton-Jackson

Moral Panic ?

fear-and-panicWhen the concept of “moral panic” comes about, a fear among a smaller population is reflected upon the larger society as an issue that will affect the population at large. Having such a large following and being viewed as credible, news organizations/corporations can be an agent in initiating or continuing a moral panic through coverage.

The Role of Television News in the Construction of School Violence as a “Moral Panic”

An early example of news organizations initiating a moral panic was shown in an article that focused on Television’s news coverage in creating school violence as a moral panic. “During the 1997-1999 school year, the American public was riveted by magnified coverage of highly unusual crime stories of school shootings that turned into what some news outlets described as an “all too familiar story“.”

  • “Rather than providing context, the media’s labeling of these shootings as “a trend” has tended to exacerbate people’s fears about the safety of their children and youth in schools. The result is that misdirected public policy is being generated to safeguard the schools, even though the real threat may lie elsewhere. To remedy the purported “crisis” of classroom violence, politicians have proposed solutions ranging from posting additional police officers in our schools, to eliminating any minimum age at which children may be tried as adults, to expanding the death penalty to juveniles.”



Key Elements/ stages in moral panic include:

  1. Defining the threat to society (moral, values, interest)
  2. Accessible construct that can be presented by media
  3. Abrupt public fear
  4. Response from public officials
  5. Causes social change


The Process of Creating News2014-09-15_2209

To understand moral panic within news organizations, it is essential to understand the process involved in the creation of it. Being highly profit driven, the realization that news organizations  have an interest in entertainment to achieve its goals. The “similarities between entertainment media and news media, which are expected to depict an accurate and objective view of reality, are unsettling considering the enormous impact of the latter on the social construction of reality.”

Finding similarities to entertainment, the images, and messages used in the news are similar. Falling in the middle of two models (market & manipulative)  that determine the content in which media is created, it can become difficult to reason with. On one hand, the market model states that “the newsworthiness of an event is determined by what is of interest to the public”. In this model, objectivity is assumed to be supreme and features factual information being reported. On the other hand, the manipulative model “newsworthiness is determined not by what is of interest to the public, but by what is of interest to the news agency owners.”

Creating a cycle of repetition, news organizations tend to confide in social institutions or credible officials to give reliable. “This easy influx of news allows the news agencies to utilize their financial resources elsewhere.” As a result of this, news often time resembles the social norm while seemingly supporting the institutions/organizations from which the information is pulled from. Maintaining the idea that crime news is profitable, it is “being prepackaged (manipulative) and popular (market), it helps the news organization in its routinization process.”

Works Cited: