Sense-making Project

What Kind of Media Consumer Are You?

Jul 12, 2013
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Are you a traditional consumer of media, a social consumer or a lurker? 

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project" said that the recent glut of news from the Supreme Court,  the George Zimmerman trial and a filibuster in the Texas legislature revealed how many different kinds of news consumers there are in the digital age.

"This was the week I realized how dramatically everything has changed in the way we consume news," explained McBride. "And, at the same time,  how firmly some of our roots are still planted in the old platforms."

Just about everybody is packing a smart phone these days -- a smart phone equipped with a pretty decent digital camera.

And, as a cost-cutting move, the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper has fired all of its photographers and will, instead, rely on reporters taking news pictures with their smart phones.

But, Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project" said having a camera does not make someone a professional photographer.


Guilty verdicts March 17 in the rape trial case of two Steubenville, Ohio football players proved, again, how strong a role social media played in this case.

And, Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense Making Project" said it is just the beginning of this new age of social media power.

The two young men may not have been charged at all had they not, themselves, posted incriminating photos of the victim on the internet.

What would you do if something you depend upon every day of week was no longer there every day of the week?

That’s what’s happening in New Orleans with their newspaper, the Times-Picayune. It’s owners recently announced they would only publish three days a week.

“In New Orleans, that’s a really big deal,” said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-making Project. “The community is up in arms. They are very angry."

“And that’s the way it is.”

When Walter Cronkite ended “CBS Evening News” with that signoff, millions of people believed him. The major networks and newspapers exposed Americans to a diversity of viewpoints – at least in theory.

But in the digital world, we each live in our own bubble, according to Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute’s Sense-making Project.