Extra, extra, read all about it

Abby Gentry | Opinion Editor

In this day and age, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become the central source for news exposure. It now seems taboo to subscribe to or pick up a hard copy of a newspaper. While there are many perks to the immediate and convenient news we receive on our phones and through the Internet, much of the honest reporting we need and deserve as a society has been lost. The best response to this new and evolving news cycle is to appreciate the convenience and speed of technology while consciously checking to make sure your news is trustworthy.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that one of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is mindlessly scroll through my phone. After clicking on a few external links through Facebook and reading the short, 140 character headlines on Twitter, I feel that I have recieved my daily dosage of news and have a pretty good grasp on what is happening globally. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Sophomore Jenna Principe shares how she chooses to get her daily news dosage and some of the pros and cons of receiving news from technology.

“I get a lot of my news from apps,” Principe said. “It’s good in the sense that it’s easily accessible but it’s bad in the sense that when I click on one app I’m only getting one source that might be biased so it’s good to shuffle through all the different apps.”

While these links provide a good overview, they are not enough to declare yourself to be a well informed citizen. Most of the time, these external news links connect to second hand news sites that get their news from various other news sites and newspapers. Eventually the telephone effect happens and details are lost, basic facts are excluded, and opinions are disguised as facts. This sloppy journalism is then thrown together, published, and then circulated to thousands of people.

Another reason these news sites are becoming less trustworthy is because with a decrease in ad revenue, or profits, comes a decrease in reporters which results in less legitimate articles. According to State of the Media, since 2003 the ad revenue has almost been cut in half starting at $46,155 and going down to $22,314. With less revenue there is less money to pay workers to complete outstanding journalism.

The speed in which these articles are published creates both a pro and con for the future of journalism. Typically, the faster the article is whipped out of the newsroom means that there was less time focused on it and less time correcting and editing. This leads to lower quality journalism and less reliable news. The flip side of this is that we are able to receive our breaking news in a much timelier fashion. I remember the exact moment I read of the Paris bombings last semester. I was sitting in my room and an article popped up on my Facebook page with a quick blurb about what had happened. What was incredible about the whole situation is that I received word of the horrible incident extremely quickly after it had happened. If print were the only way for us to receive our news, this would not have been the case. Rather, we would have heard about it the next day.

While many take advantage of the benefits of using these convenient sites, there are a few who continue to read the old-fashioned newspaper. Freshman Scott Devell shares why he prefers to catch up on global issues by reading a hard copy.

“I read the USA Today,” Devell said. “I like to be able to hold the paper and be able to flip the page and be able to mark stuff down.”

This modern news system is not all bad. The Internet provides an unlimited space for unlimited information. The traditional paper copy newspaper has a limit to how much can be featured while online news companies are able to print stories that may not otherwise be able to make it in the paper. Hyperlinks also help expand the perimeters of news reporting by directing people to external information on various other websites.

There are many risks in relying on social media and various other unofficial websites for your daily dosage of news.However, I believe that these sites are also incredibly convenient and are much better than ignoring the news as a whole. It is possible to continue using these types of news sites while being aware of the potential dangers and doing your best to look for sources that reinforce what you are reading.