What Do Students Click On?

An examination of the kinds of articles that Bronx Science students click on when they read the news.

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William Wu

Elizabeth Jung ‘22 scrolls through the News app on her phone.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher. 

Mr. Fomin, my Calculus BC teacher asked, “Does anyone know who Margaret Thatcher is?”

I raised my hand. “Former Prime Minister of England.” 

“Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” he subtly corrected me. 

I was recovering from my embarrassment when another student asked, “How does anyone know that?” 

Mr. Fomin replied, “How does anyone NOT know that?” 

I only knew of Margaret Thatcher by going through a chain of Wikipedia changes that started with WWII and ended with the Falklands War. I could tell you in length about the problem with Albania’s tourism industry or how much Snoop Dogg’s personal assistant makes yearly, but I cannot list a single movie that Brad Pitt has starred in or the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine. We all know something that somebody else does not know, and it is all because of the media that we choose to consume. 

I asked around our student body to see what articles interest our diverse high school population the most. I started off in the cafeteria with Grace Lim ’22. Lim said, “Baseball, sports, and crime interest me the most.” When asked why, she attributed it to the fact that it is what her parents talk about at the dinner table. 

Dhruv Amin ’22 had a different response to the prompt. Amin believes that “it is better to get a broad understanding of everything that goes on,” so he reads a multitude of articles from different news sites. He mentions that he enjoys ‘article hopping,’ which is the process of jumping from one publication to another through suggestions provided by most online news mediums at the bottom of the page. Amin also acknowledges that our opinions are heavily impacted by the news. “You’ll remember some things, and you won’t remember other things, and that’s how your opinion gets formulated.” Other students at the cafeteria table where Amin was being interviewed nodded in agreement.

Leo Chen ’22 added onto this by stating, “I am interested in anything interesting in terms of news that catches my eye.” Chen listed crime as a topic that he is particularly fond of clicking on because it piques his curiosity. 

The interviewees also mentioned Marvel characters and actors like Tom Holland and political figures such as Donald Trump as individuals whom they found interesting enough to spend the time to read articles about them. Overall, I found that although the answers were diverse, the general consensus is clear: people click on what is interesting to them. 

Social media and news platforms have become more and more accessible these days, and clickbait articles, those that feature scandalous and tragic news, usually receive the most attention. Through the interviews I have conducted, crime appears to be an attractive topic to everyone. Apps like Citizen where nosy citizen vigilantes track 911 calls that oftentimes have nothing to do with them are becoming more prevalent. Humans seem to have a fascination with tragedy and evil, while they find happier events less interesting. 

“You’ll remember some things and you won’t remember other things and that’s how your opinion gets formulated,” said Dhruv Amin ’22.

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