Challenges for the audience in a new generation of media

Brian FosdickAfter the recent fiasco involved with the Boston bombings and the very on and off news coverage that was given on the event, it’s becoming more evident than ever that the younger generations are going to have to become more wary of the media. Whether it was from countless viral rumors that speculated on who the bombers were, or major news stations like CNN dropping the ball and reporting false arrests, the media coverage was not only lacking but downright irresponsible.

Of course the news itself, while being part of the problem, only tells half the story of why news has been going so astray over the last ten years. As the growing popularity of pundits in the media has become evident to news stations and viewers alike, we’re starting to see a disturbing trend where we’re getting exactly what we want: shallow punditry and a lack of real substantive news. At some point with the growing of the Internet and the urge for immediate answers and quick responses, reporting details with haste became more important than reporting details that were actually true.

It’s even common to have friends nowadays that get their news entirely from social networking sites. Sites like Facebook are full of viral rumors, baseless opinions and just straight lies. It’s a challenge for a new generation to decide which direction they want to go when it comes to consuming media. The internet will always have the aspect of convenience that makes it so attractive to young consumers who don’t want to spend time to keep up with the latest stories, but trends like these are slowly leading to a drop in news quality in an attempt to appease people who don’t care about news quality.

It’s a two-fold problem and it lacks an overnight solution, but it’s time to start holding people accountable for giving out false news. If someone posts a false link in Facebook, let them know that it’s not true and encourage them take it down. If a news station is propagating false news, stop watching it and help condemn that kind of behavior.

It’s time to stop masking opinions as news and ignorance as fact. It’s the kind of behavior that is very unbecoming of a society of educated people and it’s also the kind of behavior that will help shape our future, for better or worse.

As we all move to graduate, it’s time to realize we’re moving into an increasing global society and it’s time to demand news that actually reflects the world as such. We tend to leave a society of social networking and punditry with set views and opinions fed to us by our customized news without a full and healthy understanding of the world around us. We’re fed trends and tragedies that we can chat about in passing without any real details of why or how they happened. It’s a cycle that lends itself to creating more ignorance than knowledge, the opposite of what our news media should be doing.

To conclude, yes I am aware of how ironic it is as I am a talking head telling you what to believe right now. That said, you don’t have to take my word for it, consider the news that you consume as a student and consider how much of it is real news. Ask yourself when the last time you picked up a major credible newspaper was and read it all the way through.

It’s time to start bringing critical thinking back in to the news. It’s time for the media to start searching for the truth again. It’s time for people in the younger generation to hold the media accountable for what they say because it matters.

Brian Fosdick is a junior journalism major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.