Criticality: Ideation & Research

After my deep research and analysis into spaces of news I found that two areas I could explore were the use of negative language and the incorrect balance between negative and uplifting stories. These were the areas which I think I could look at making and impact and surprise the audience.

Research into Negative Language

Through research into why the media will support the writing and distribution of negative stories, it’s argued that we as humans might be neurologically drawn to focusing on negative information. It seems to be believed that it stems from there being more potential benefits to us understand negative information than positive. However, this is an argument which cannot be proved easily therefore is open to interpretation.

According to statistics published in 2020 90% of all media news is negative. That is a massive amount and again highlights earlier research that the news is based towards negative content. These statistics also showed that headlines with bad news catch 30% more attention than those with positive language. Could the use of positive language with headlines then surprises viewers? If I was to create a concept design where news stories utilised positive language within their headlines it could have and impact on the viewer.

Research into Similar Projects

I came across a project undertaken by Libby Miller and Alicia Grandjean in 2019 who looked at creating software that allows people to blur out certain articles that might make a viewer anxious. In an article written by the BBC Alicia stated “Digital wellbeing, and more precisely the relation between news and anxiety, is something I am very interested in. I really think that we can create simple tools to give control back to users to allow them to engage with news in the way that is most appropriate for them.” For me this just highlights again the problem within our news today that it cause people to become anxious, and maybe people don’t realise this at first.

In their research Miller and Grandjean found that it it was mainly 16 – 24 year olds that spend less time looking at the news because it made them feel anxious. I think looking at this target audience even slightly older would help make people aware of the problem within the news industry today. It has also got me thinking that people are purposely avoid the news because it’s negative it could be another way in which this is explored. There have also been other software and ideas developed in a similar way to Miller and Grandjean’s with Google creating software where you ask google to tell you something good, they hoped that it could start to balance the media.

Ideation Development

From this research I felt as though there were two options that I could look at further. Both of which visually could work within the realm of critical design.

  1. Creating an alternative website interface that has both uplifting and negative stories side by side.
  2. Create an alternative that highlights the use of positive language within headlines rather than negative language.


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