06 Aug READING BEYOND THE HEADLINE
How we obtain our news has shifted considerably in recent years.
It used to be solely newspapers where people would get their information on various topics from, including the weather, the latest stories from around their town, house listings, or even movies that were playing.
The radio was also a very common source at one point, bringing a more immediate and personal connection to the audience and major events that newspaper print could not. Then, of course, came the news channels on TV.
Local news stations keep you up to date with your town or city, and there is access to national news stations like CTV, CNN, or BBC to see what is going on in the country and around the world.
Now, in the modern age of new technology and social media, things are very different for our generation. For example, Twitter has become a seemingly reliable source for news. It is apparently so reliable that the President of the United States uses it daily to discuss his takes on important matters. Anyways… Twitter is not the only social media platform turned news source. It seems almost every popular app used by teenagers and young adults have their way of introducing news to its users. There are Snapchat articles, individual Instagram pages, and even TikTok accounts that are devoted to sharing information with viewers. This could be very beneficial in informing youth and those who do not stay up to date on current events. However, there is also something uneasy about obtaining all your information strictly from these apps. The number of fake facts I have seen circling around Instagram and TikTok is concerning, not to mention the number of people taking accounts like 6ixbuzz as seriously as they would their local news station.
With the start of the new school year approaching, many of us are moving away from home and back to campus, or maybe to campus for the first time. This means moving away from easily accessible and reliable newspaper subscriptions and TV News channels. At a time like this, in the midst of a global pandemic and important social movements like Black Lives Matter, it is crucial we stay updated and informed with the events and situations taking place in the world. This is why I challenge you to make an effort to do exactly that. Stay updated and informed. This could mean downloading a News app on your phone or laptop, subscribing to a newspaper online, listening to weekly podcasts that discuss important and relevant topics, or even streaming the news from your res or student home. It could be as simple as turning on notifications for your iPhone’s news app which notifies you now and then about articles and stories that may be of interest.
All in all, we need to be constantly analyzing our information and where we obtain it. This means fact-checking and asking questions, not just believing every post you see circling around the internet. Recognizing a fake news story really begins with reading past the headline. So many stories and posts have misleading titles that cause you to think one thing is true when if you actually read past it, it becomes a very different story. Checking where it is published and visiting their website is important too as you can find out if it is a credible source you can trust. Another tip is looking up if other news sources are reporting on it as well – if they have a “big” story, and yet are the only source posting about it, chances are it is not real.
Sharing information with mass amounts of people has never been easier than it is today, which means it has also never been easier to spread fake news and information. Considering this, remembering to think before you repost is essential. Sometimes we see headlines that coincide directly with our views so we absentmindedly take them as fact when we should be looking past our preconceived biases to find the truth. Thinking critically is imperative – we cannot accept all material at face value. Asking questions is the most important thing we can do. That is the only way we learn, and now more than ever, it is so important we learn about the things happening in the world.
Whether you are going back to campus or staying home: stay safe and stay informed.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: PROSPECT MAGAZINE