The vaccination issue has become increasingly controversial the last several years. For this reflection, I’ve accumulated the following sources:
- Article, The Washington Post, http://wapo.st/1BW7zHT
- Blog, Sam Watson Writes, http://bit.ly/1zBW2iH
- Broadcast Media, TimesVideo (The New York Times), http://nyti.ms/1EHNg7c
- Twitter, @rj4gui4r, http://bit.ly/1EHNhbg
- Flickr, Eleventh Earl, http://bit.ly/1Dgvu9l
Examination reveals brevity to be the most pointed difference among these platform approaches to the vaccination issue, the other being their varying degrees of formality. While the Washington Post article is more lengthy and formal, as is the New York Times video, the tweet and flickr photo are much more brief, and casual–and in their way, laughing at anti-vaxxer sentiment. This is exactly what readers expect, though. Tweets are meant to be short and to the point, while news outlet articles are expected to expound upon the issues. Blog articles have the wonderful choice of catering to either of these extremes. They can be short, long, formal, casual; they cater to the whims of the writer, and are often more personal. Flickr, of course, is a photo-sharing site; our rampant use of memes has flooded them everywhere, in addition to personal photos.
Intended audiences for each of these platforms differ as well as overlap in places. The lengthier stories, such as the Post article and the Times video are meant for those individuals with the time and attention spans to consume them; those individuals really interested in the issue at hand want more details. Headline readers would prefer the tweet or the flickr meme. In this case the blog would also be appropriate for the headline reader, but it would just as easily be an interest for the former group–provided the source is trustworthy.
Blogs aren’t generally thought to be the best place to get the news; they often come with a personal bias, unlike the stereotype that accompanies news corporations like the Post and the Times. Even they, however, may put a political spin on their coverage; it’s just not as easy to pick out when your preconceived notions are telling you they are unbiased.
The Post article and the Times video were produced by professionals, while the blog, tweet and flickr post were cast by laymen. Even so, the latter group still punches through with valid arguments, it becomes easier to get their pro-vaccination message across in a smaller space with humor and sarcasm. The Post and the Times necessitate objectivity if they want to be professionals taken seriously. The general message across all these posts and articles is that vaccinations=good, anti-vaxxer=ridiculous, though we also see a one size does not fit all sentiment therein as well.
My favorite posts among these are the flickr meme and the tweet. They are brief, to the point, and pack a powerful punch aimed at anti-vaxxers. These are perfect for those of our society who are decided on the issue. They unite us against our opposition: conspiracy-riddled parents who don’t understand the scientific method. I greatly appreciate the Times video as well; it is a wonderful, objective look at the vaccination issue, and is a perfect argument against the anti-vaxxer population.
NOTE: Cartoon from http://www.marriedtothesea.com/index.php?date=120412