News sources have evolved
In today’s modern-day world where social media has captivated the minds of many, the sources of news have changed. A few generations ago, people read the daily newspapers to keep with the latest happenings of society. However, University of San Diego students have drifted away from traditional news sources and have relied more heavily on social media platforms and other types of news.
Senior David Fox stays informed by referring to a variety of sources.
“I get my news from a couple different sources,” Fox said. “I get it from The Wall Street Journal because I think that is one of the most unbiased mainstream papers. And I hate to admit it, but I get a lot of news through social media.”
Social media applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have seen an increase in popularity in recent years, making them a viable source for news among USD students. These applications have started to incorporate ‘Discover’ pages that allow news content to be incorporated within personal content.
Fox’s tendency to gather news as he scrolls through his newsfeed is not an uncommon action among his peers. But, he noted the necessary level of caution when reading these sources.
“I am sometimes skeptical of what’s being posted [online],” Fox said. “I think that’s something that we should all take into consideration and understand the inherent bias that comes with the news through social media, ‘cause everyone has their opinion.”
Fox believes that social media as a news source only feeds into the problem of the spiral of silence among students.
“Social media fosters the problem where people are just being fed what they already believe, so it’s just creating psychological affirmation of that opinion,” Fox said. “I think the best way to fix this problem of affirmation is to have people read more diverse things and get their news from various sources rather than just social media or one particular newspaper.”
On the other hand, junior Marshall Daigle tends not to keep up with the day-to-day news, unless he hears about it through word of mouth.
“Since I usually don’t follow [hard] news too closely, I usually hear about it from someone else and then if it’s a big thing I will look into online or TV,” Daigle said. “If there is a new policy being enacted or something terrible happened, I like to be aware, but ultimately there isn’t a lot I can do about it.”
For some students, like Daigle, they may be inclined to think that news does not affect their lives, since the world moves at such a fast pace. Daigle said this is why he puts his focus on other types of news.
“I am more into finance, so Yahoo finance I’m on every day just looking at stocks and various things like that,” Daigle said. “The news that goes along with finance, like GDP growth, I pay a lot more attention to than the more everyday news. Financial news actually allows me to take action in terms of investing. So just in terms of having that active involvement with that kind of news, even if I’m not going to invest in that stuff just the fact that I could do something where it would be of direct effect to me makes it a lot more interesting.”
Even as Daigle goes through the finance news he is weary of articles that may be influenced through sponsoring.
“If an article says something like sponsored ads, I will never click on those,” Daigle said, “I think that I would just get one opinion from reading it.”
Junior Reid Arno gets his news from a combination of online and print sources.
“I generally read headlines on leading news from Reddit and Economist magazine,” Arno said. “I like to know what occurs, but I stay away from strong opinion.”
Arno noted that the increased presence of opinion in news makes it hard to distinguish between opinion and fact.
“The prestige in journalistic integrity has been diminished now that every single person can spread their opinion so rapidly,” Arno said. “So many opinions, so few facts. It’s hard to reconcile that in a world with so much government and corporate influence lording over us.”
News has the power to inform people and help develop perspectives, which could ultimately lead to tangible change. Even though Arno sees the potential to engage in activism as a result of keeping up with the news, he has decided to keep his thoughts to himself.
“News likely encourages activism,” Arno said. “Now that news companies are looking to make almost anything news, this creates another avenue for smaller groups of people to project their voice to a much wider audience.”
As technology continues to evolve, so will the sources that students use as a reference. This continuous evolution is accompanied by the difficult distinction between fact and opinion. Whether students are looking to be informed or persuaded, news can offer a pertinent root for both of these. things.