Tiered News Sources

If all traditional news sources are supposed to be written at a fourth grade level then news sources that reach the majority of their readership via Facebook must highly underestimate the intelligence of the average fourth grader. It seems that any and all news sites shared online by crazy relatives and friends with little better to do are rendered practically illegible by their simplicity and almost total lack of sophistication. As harsh as this may sound, sites like Buzzfeed, Fusion, and these days even Complex, those that have descended into regularly covering internet memes and hourly celebrity gossip, have lost me, and many others, as a reader for this very reason.
Even though they are supposedly written at such a low reading level, traditional news sources still feel as though they are pitched to me. They do just as news outlets should: report news in a way that is engaging, understandable, and helps the reader to consider topics he or she may previously have no experience with. Short of the occasional highly technical article featured in an obscure section of the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, the entirety of their content feels right at my level linguistically and academically.
The only news sources that seem to divert from this general rule are those that are highly specialized. Science magazines, economic journals and the like are all pitched to those with a greater understanding of their content than the average person. A simple Google search brought up the Electronic Journal of Biology, a perfect example of a publication that flies high above my head somewhere I’ll never be able to reach.

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