Teens get news today in a variety of different forms. I don’t think many teens get real “news” on Facebook or Twitter, but this may mean that they purely rely on friends and parents for news, since often there are more alluring things on the radio and TV. Not many of my friends regularly read the newspaper, either—a traditional source of knowledge of the outside world. However, I think there is a lack of interest in what’s going on in the outside world, and many are not informed about world issues that they feel may not apply to themselves. This is unfortunate, because world news can help us understand what is going on in our own country and our own lives, and the topics we come across in the news daily are important themes that are applicable to many aspects of our lives.
I get my news from the newspaper, the radio, and my dad. I feel that I get quality unbiased news, and the largest part of my more-than-average exposure to the happenings around me is because my father is a journalism teacher, and being informed is something highly valued in my household. My dad usually comes into the picture by turning on the radio or throwing a newspaper or magazine article at me and telling me I’ll be interested, or simply sending me the link to an article he thinks I’ll appreciate. He also helps by explaining news stories to me so I can better grasp the bigger picture.
I think that the credibility of a news source is always an issue, and Twitter is not the ideal place to go if you want to be properly informed. Twitter was not created for the purpose of getting proper thorough news; it was created for people to give quick updates on whatever they feel like. These updates could be personal, or about something bigger, but regardless—there is no way to know whether you are getting good information on Twitter. The news could be sanitized, but if it was, then things wouldn’t get out about the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and the mistakes and achievements of all political parties. If news from a previously unbiased news source was tampered with, it would happen because a certain group of people wanted to make themselves look good and others look bad, and this bias would be apparent, like in Fox News. I listen to various international and local news stations (which I can’t remember the names of), and we get the San Jose Mercury News paper as well as the Scientific American, Mountain View Voice, Atlantic, and Time magazine.
Having so many online news sources makes it more difficult to get valid news, because over the Internet facts can get warped more easily than they do in print. I don’t believe that Facebook and Twitter are news sources anyway, so without those in play there are plenty of great digital news sources out there, one just has to know which ones are authentic and which are not. It is in many ways beneficial to have online news sources, because information is more accessible and immediately accessed that way. Democracy will do well with lots of news sources, but if too many of them become unreliable and have a far reach to many people (i.e., Fox News) then democracy will most definitely suffer.
Newspapers are a dying art, and probably most everything will become digital. This will be an issue, because it means that it will be much easier to manipulate and alter past events. I think all news will be on whatever form of TV we have in ten years, as well as whatever kind of Internet there is. Maybe there will be a few newspapers, but probably not many. The Web has already drastically changed our news habits, and I’m sure ten years from now, we will be even more dependent on digital news sources than we are right now.
Click here to read other essays on “How kids get their news.”