Becoming a smart media viewer is important in the digital age

Published by adviser, Author: Will DeShong - Editor commentary, Date: May 2, 2013

Media has been evolving for as long as it has existed, but never as drastically as it has over the past decade or two.

This is an exciting time for media to say the least. Communication can instantly happen across the world. We can get news here in Slippery Rock about the happenings in the Middle East the moment they break.

And while we have the absolute greatest means to produce a high quality of news content for the people of this earth, we seem to rather waste the possibilities on garbage.

Quality, credible news reporting is becoming obsolete, and not simply because digital media is running traditional print newspapers out business.

People don’t seem to appreciate solid journalism anymore. Hence why the screaming heads at Fox News have an astonishingly higher number of viewers than an outlet like NPR, which actually reports news in some sense of journalistic fashion.

Look at the popular 24-hour cable networks — most of the content in their programing is either heavily subjective or entertainment. But how can you blame them for running it when that’s what apparently brings in ratings?

Looking past television, because it’s becoming an old medium by this point, and moving to the digital world is even more frightening for advocates of true journalism.

Blogs have taken the concept of having citizen journalists offer a different insight than the “money-greedy” traditional outlets and made it to the point where all you need to have in order to be a journalist is an internet connection and an opinion on something.

Many blogs out there pass themselves off as reliable news outlets, but lack any journalistic standards or values. They can pass highly subjective, sensationalized stories off as news, and people will read them over hard news because they are more interesting.

Quite frankly, as much as I would love to blame the decline of journalism on the people in the media, it’s really our fault.

We’re the ones that keep tuning into shows like The O’Reilly Factor and reading blogs with no credibility.

The most difficult thing about the world of journalism right now is getting the facts out to people when most people want an entertaining story.

This editorial is almost a call to action for young media viewers that will be dictating what media outlets will cover.

It’s fine if you get your news from Facebook and Twitter instead of a print newspaper.

But the media outlets you follow or like should be credible. Do some research into where you are getting your news and don’t simply blindly follow an outlet because they share similar political views.

Keep the quality news outlets in the world going by getting your news from them.

If everyone could do this, we would have that “well-informed public” the First Amendment was hoping to achieve.

If we continue to support subjective  and sensationalized blogs and television shows, we’re all going to be walking with a terribly skewed vision of the world.

Be a smart media viewer. Pull out your smartphone and follow credible news sources on your social media.

You can start by liking The Rocket on both Facebook and Twitter, if you have not yet already done so.


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