That’s incredible

How kids get their news

Today, most teenagers only care about news that relate to them. They do not actively buy newspapers, go online to official news websites, watch TV news, or listen to the radio. Often, they simply hear about some exciting new product, horrible event, or large debate through conversations with friends and family or through online social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Teenagers only receive and listen to a small percentage of all the news available to them and often only know of a few opinions on the topics.

As a high-school teenager, accessing news is not my major concern. My main focuses are currently my academics, after-school activities, and friends. With a busy academic and social life, I do not spend time to find news reports on the radio, TV, or online. I don’t really talk about news with my friends, either. The few times I actually know about news are when my Facebook news feed becomes flooded with statuses, people talk at school, I see posters or advertisements, or my parents discuss a news issue.

By the time I hear news, the story has already passed through several people before it reached me. I cannot know whether the information is completely accurate or how much opinion is in what I hear. Most of the time, the news does not interest me enough for me to go look up more about it. Occasionally, I will look up news from a direct source, but they are online sources that I do not always know are credible. Just as I cannot know the credibility of the news I hear from other people and from social networks, I do not know how censored the news other people hear is before they tell me. It is important that people receive full, correct information regarding all aspects of an issue because everyone has the right to know what is going on around them, but many people, including me, do not usually care about news that isn’t directly related to themselves enough to make an active effort to verify its credibility. This makes it easy for big news networks to only share news about interesting topics that will catch people’s attention, whether or not it is important or complete.

I think that having news sources online makes it easy for people to find out about news quickly, but not always to receive all the truth. A direct source that is closer to the actual event will probably be more truthful than a source that was influenced by other opinions and rumors. I think democracy may suffer in the future with so many news sources, because people easily mix up opinion with fact when they share news, and this can be extremely impactful. If news was purposely changed and censored, it would be against democracy. Even if it wasn’t purposeful, changes in news could affect people’s opinions in harmful ways. Having many online news sources is helpful for spreading news very quickly and efficiently, but it also suffers the chance of being corrupt and false.

In the future, I think the majority of people may stop caring about news that does not directly affect them. News will most likely be accessed online or through some sort of electrical device instead of through print. If people remain conscious of how corrupt news can become, try to prevent corruption, and actively care about all news, then we will always have truth in the news we receive. The only way we can keep receiving truthful news through any of our sources is through active efforts to keep our news valid.

Click here to read other essays on “How kids get their news.”

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Jamie Har is a 9th grader at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, CA. Tags: