Posted by Marissa Mumford
A common frustration is apparent in many of the class’s blog posts as we witness front pages flooded with killer cats and celebrity baby announcements. So what is “news,” anyway? What deserves to make the front page? What is worth our attention and where can we get the best information?
It has become increasingly hard to know what true news is because we are bombarded with a constant barrage of information.
Anyone with an Internet connection can find out what is going on in the world. We have newspapers, blogs, tabloids, talk shows, live coverage and websites dedicated to news. Social media’s popularity gives us access we never had before. Facebook users share headlines, the BBC is on Instagram, and our president uses Twitter.
We have great tools for news consumption. The difficulty is understanding what is most important for us to know.
As future journalists, it is our duty to be informed more than the average college student. Our generation is often criticized for its lack of general knowledge. We live in a “have it your way” world where we can read Fox News or The Huffington Post depending on our political stance. We can choose to check topical websites Refinery29, Cnet or BuzzFeed instead of opening a newspaper. We are consumers of news, but on our own terms.
Don’t get me wrong, variety is fantastic for journalism. It means freedom of speech is still alive. It means we are not limited to a specific point of view. It also means there is no perfect, complete coverage of news in one place. Because we can pick and choose, the likelihood of missing something important is high. USA Today features stories that the Wall Street Journal doesn’t, and vice versa.
There is no miracle fix for the media. SuperJournalist and ObjectiveMan aren’t going to sweep in from space and start the ideal news website. In my experience, the only way to make sure we stay informed is to never trust one single source and always look for different views on controversial topics. There isn’t always a right answer, but if it exists it may not be on the front page.
As a journalism student, how do you find reliable news? Do certain websites seem to provide better coverage than others? Can we rely on popular websites to provide us with the essential? Is there ever a way to make sure we don’t “miss” anything important, or is it inevitable?