The importance of mainstream media has dwindled due to the multiple ways a person can now obtain information. Newspapers, television and radio broadcasts have been almost replaced by social media stories that can easily pop up on a person’s phone.
There is a thin line between fact and opinion, but some people can no longer tell the difference between the two. With the use of fake news websites and opinion blogs, a person can be fed false or warped information on a regular basis.
We need to stress the importance of real journalism and steer people away from social media sites that are allowing anybody to spit out their version of the news.
Social media can benefit journalism, if it is used properly. Breaking news, updates on ongoing stories and upcoming events can be shared through a legitimate news source social media site.
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and many other sites have news stories pop up on them throughout the day.
Some stories are from verified sources that are providing information that has been gathered and is supported by facts. Other stories, however, are attached to fake news websites or blogs that are based upon rumors and gossip, mostly fiction, and are designed to skew a person’s view on a subject.
With President-elect Donald Trump winning the election, people in multiple cities have taken to the streets to protest. Stories are showing up on broadcast news as well as in print. Some of the print stories that are posted to online websites are being spoofed and placed on fake sites with altered information.
On the surface, most people do not think that their local newspaper is a key source that they can rely on for local information, according to an article written for the Pew Research Center.
The article adds that younger adults, age 18-29, were especially unconcerned. More and more people not only don’t care about reading the news, but they don’t even care if it’s factual. Many tend to read anything that fits into their preconceived notions and biases.
Twitter and Facebook are two sites where people tend to only read the headline and not the actual text of a story.
An article written on poynter.org referenced a post Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook on Saturday, Nov. 12. “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes,” Zuckerberg wrote.
A story about a Northern California high school student began to circulate on the internet and showed up on different social media sites, including Facebook. Jade Armenio was attacked after a post she made on Instagram in reference to Donald Trump.
The story can be found on multiple websites, but some do not provide accurate information. Patriotupdate.com reports that liberal, anti-Trump violence is on the rise in the United States, given the emboldening job being perpetrauted by the media and celebrities. The article continues this distorted view throughout the story.
The Mercury News, a Bay Area newspaper, also reported on the story and spoke to Armenio and her family and left out their opinion about the reason the girl was attacked. This kept the article from becoming skewed by simply delivering the information and letting readers choose their thoughts on it.
Finding a way to weed out the fake opinion-based sites will help save print and broadcast news and reassure the public that the information that is being delivered is truthful, neutral and factual.
We are real journalists who care about providing the stories the public needs and deserves to know.