Today, especially for college-aged individuals, news comes in bites, tweets, posts, or any other simple online form you can think of. 24/7 news outlets like CNN are becoming a thing of the past to people who want to control how they receive news. Personally, I don’t watch news on TV simply because I don’t have time to sit through a structured program with all those commercial breaks. College students don’t have time for that. Most Americans don’t have time for that. Living in a fast paced world where everything is updating in real time, TV news outlets lag behind in getting information out to people as quickly as possible. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Having information updated or published as fast as possible leaves room for errors, wrong information or just incomplete and simple articles.
Compared to the past, this new medium for news changes the playing field for everyone, including the consumer. Now anyone, like myself, can publish content with information and news, they can contribute or share their opinions in forums and within the news piece. This online system is like a double-edged sword. On the positive side the Internet can be seen as the public sphere and meeting space that was so present in the past. A downside is that people can hide behind their usernames and be inclined to share misleading information.
Pushing news into the 21st century in its transmission and creation captures the attention of the young but almost mesmerizes them. These small bites often have catchy titles or lists to entice a user to click them. For example Buzz Feed is the perfect example of how news has changed into tiny, slightly insignificant feeds about pop culture and contains more images than text. They often entice users by titling “10 worst ways to…” or “40 signs you went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison”. This new form of entertainment shares little worthwhile news. Trusted journalistic sources such as The New York Times also use this same method for getting users to read their articles. Just now they posted on their Facebook page this status, “12 ways to love zucchini, one of the most underloved vegetables”. It is slightly alarming how big trusted new sources are dumbing down how they preset information and its content to satisfy a consumer. Questionably, aren’t news sources responsible for engaging the public in matters directly related to everyone’s wellbeing? I for one do enjoy the Buzz Feed world and do like that I can scroll down my newsfeed and see a couple different articles from sources I have added to trust. People should be cautious however, of not being passive receivers of news but use the public sphere that has been built to question and challenge ideas to ultimately seek the truth.
There is and always will be a problem with the news. It is inherent to the search for truth. What matters most is how we continually improve and better ourselves. The way we transmit and report news will vary in order to reach as many people as possible. This way we can truly change the world for the better.