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Teenage Take over #7

It's the 7th teenage take over

Hello hello. It’s that time of the month to get your regular dose of teenage pension takeover… 

So what have we been thinking about this month? Well, it all started with looking at why people outside of the industry are almost naturally negative about pensions? We also reflected on how much we learn every month – every time we read an article on pensions, it seems to change our perspective. The vast difference in content, thoughts and views, is a lot to digest. For this month we’ve decided to write about pensions in the media. And to keep entertaining we’re going to look at the difference between mainstream media and industry media. So first of all let’s start simple…

Mainstream and industry… What's the difference?

The obvious, key differences between mainstream media and trade press are; target audience, content and distribution.  A mainstream media outlet’s primary goal is to spread news across all subject areas to as many eyes as possible whilst turning a profit through readership and advertising. A trade outlet will obviously still want to make money but their audience is much smaller, the subject area is specific and the audience knowledge is specialist.  

So what are the differences in content?

We thought this would be a pretty easy blog to write – mainstream press are overly negative about pensions whilst industry press is overly positive hence the great divide. But it wasn’t quite that simple. After looking across hundreds of headlines from a variety of publications there was a very mixed result.

Sure, mainstream media news outlets tend to release a higher rate of negative articles which portray pensions in a bad light however this is not always the case. There’s also articles with a completely neutral standpoint, the sole purpose being to deliver information. 

But the trade press isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There is far more depth of information and confusing terminology, but we guess you guys all know what it means? Although that really doesn’t help anyone else. You do really get under the skin of some complicated issues and there’s lots of knowledge sharing. 

The power of language

By looking at just the headlines of news articles most of the mainstream articles used many more negative words and phrases. 

Here’s just a couple of examples:

State pensions to cost more than education policing and defence combined – The Times

Now Treasury ‘plans tax raid on inherited pension pots’ as ability to inherit them tax free could be scrapped by ministers

 – The Daily Mail

Tell the young the truth: they won’t get a state pension – The Telegraph

Language is something that we’re both learning about for our GCSEs. And something very interesting that we’ve been looking at is the processing and emotions that happen as a result of language. Did you know that words impact how your brain reacts. Negative words trigger increased activity in your brain’s fear centre, your brain has to work harder to process them and negative hormones are released. So news headlines are quite important, sensational language might capture attention, but not hearts and minds.

Our thoughts

We think that mainstream articles use more negative language, this along with low understanding and a lack of financial education (things that we’ve talked about in past blogs) create an instinctive negativity. Headlines are essentially clickbait for newspapers. More clicks equals more adverts, which ultimately equals more money. Could their desire to drive profit directly impact the financial position of millions in retirement? Should the trade press branch out to be a source of information for average people? Will anyone click neutral or simply informative headlines?   

This month was definitely very interesting to think and write about and we hope to see you again next month. We’re heading back to school now… to learn, not about pensions. Let us know how you feel in the comments.

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