Human editors are superior to algorithms. However, it seems like more and more media content is being shaped by a calculations and formulas. These algorithms will never be able to capture your feelings towards a specific article, image, video etc.
This became evident when I viewed Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, John Moore’s captivating image of a little girl crying at the U.S. – Mexico border. Time editors handpicked this image and placed it next to Donald Trump for the cover of their July 2nd magazine issue. After feeling a deep sadness from this image, I asked myself
How long has it been since I had that reaction to a cover photo?
I believe I had this realization because algorithms are replacing human editors. An algorithm would not be able to select this image as a worthy cover photo because it would not be able to measure the emotional connection the audience would have with the specific image. The readers could digest the image and relate it to the immigration issues currently occurring in the United States. The image successfully grabbed the attention of millions of people and shed light on a political matter that desperately needed attention. An algorithm would not be able to select an image that would cause this reaction.
As media platforms develop, user-based platforms become crowded with content. As a user, you are taking in information that the platform deems relevant to YOU. Take a look at how the following platforms decide what and when something shows up on your feed –
- tweets you “likely care about most” will appear first
- Twitter decides what tweets, accounts, or content they believe is relevant to you
- As of January 2018, Facebook priorities posts that are most likely going to spark a connection (like, comment, share) between a friend
- Friends and Family’s content will show up before any public content including news
- Adweek summed this up nicely in an article published this April saying, “Only Instagram know exactly how the algorithm works”
Maybe we all need to be more aware of where we read our news and question why it is the way it is more frequently.