What is my social media diet?

15 09 2010

I guess you could say I’m a Front-Page reader. If it’s bold and there’s a picture, it has my attention.  Otherwise, I will seek out only the kind of stories that interest me… 

I love the entertainment industry, but have done well to insure that I am not among the percentage of young adults who depend on Jon Stewart as a primary news source (http://www.journalism.org/node/10953).

Whenever I describe my morning routine to a friend, I have to clarify why I read “my news” in a particular order.
I read Perez Hilton, People magazine and CNN’s sites every day. More than once in a day. When I examine that roster, I can conclude that I read in order of credibility. The gossip and rumors come from Perez, similar stories that can be legitimized by a publicist will show up on People, and if it is of national interest the good folks at CNN will throw out a blurb.

If you noticed, those are all online sources of news. Am I contributing to the fall of this industry? No.  When I am not in school, I read at least one physical news paper per day (my family subscribes to the Poughkeepsie Journal)- sometimes as many as four: The Daily Freeman, Southern Dutchess News, and/or USA Today.  If I have the time, I will at the very least skim every section. Except the sports, anything I “need” to know about the NFL, MLB or the like will be repeated by my 13-year-old brother at the dinner table.

That being said, I took particular interest in the comments of Bill Keller and Rupert Murdoch in the Eric Alterman piece.  “At places where editors and publishers gather, the mood these days is funeral,”  that’s heavy stuff.  Professors and mentors have tried to emphasize that the cuts are real, but that we hopefuls should remain dedicated to the craft of writing.  Poised to graduate in May and enter the workforce as soon as possible thereafter, I am slightly anerved by such a bold confession from an industry exec.

Murdoch made a realistic observation and subsequently a logical deduction regarding the direction of the news media, “Today’s consumers… want a point of view about not just what happened but why it happened.”  The internet has been a blessing and a curse; instant gratification has been exasserbated by entitlement (because the news is available immediately, we want it immediately).

 Andrew Sullivan takes a different approach to examining the online news format- he analyzes the origins, benefits, and consequences of the digital writer.  I agree wholeheartedly with the problem of time that he discusses in paragraph 8.
“A reporter can wait- must wait- until every source has confirmed.”  This is something I love and appreciate about journalism! As reporters we are taught not to perpetuate information that is not verifiable; “For bloggers, the deadline is always now,” and this poses a sincere ethical problem.  When the dust settles, the facts are clarified- changed even. 

The flow of information is as fragile as it is fast. Especially now in the age of technology, once an idea is presented it can never be taken back- you can’t unring the bell.

Due to the fact that anyone can start up a blog, I think it is particularly important for there to be a conscious effort by anyone and everyone, from Anderson Cooper to a lowly college student, who blogs to only put the most factually sound statements out there. If you’re going to come from a news/media standpoint, you should be interested in the truth, not viewership or garnering attention for yourselves.

Journalist’s aren’t the story, they tell the story.

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