This argument is ironic, because the counterpart to this opinion piece is in a piece of printed media. If you cannot trust the media, why trust that you can’t trust the media by reading an article in the printed media?
Nowadays, there is so much information thrown at us. With phones in our pockets, we are constantly communicating and being bombarded with information. Because of this we hear multiple different sides to stories and new information every day, and this can make us skeptical about what we hear.
Back when it was not so easy to obtain information, people accepted what they were told because they didn’t know of anything different.
This excessive ability to obtain information and know what is going on has made people more skeptical of what they hear and caused them to form more opinions on what they think is true.
The best thing you can do to get the truth is follow multiple different media outlets and compare that information. We have the ability to do this better than ever, and it makes hiding the truth harder than ever before.
This increased competition for supplying information has forced different media to become more accountable and trustworthy as they struggle to keep views up. If news sources are found to be faulty or inaccurate, their views immediately drop. These news sources are openly criticized and lose business.
What makes a media source trustworthy is accuracy, timeliness, conciseness and, surprisingly, its entertainment factor. This entertainment aspect to the media may be a reason why so many people distrust the media, because they believe the media is only there for views and money.
The media will portray what they think the people want to know; that’s where the entertainment aspect comes from.
Most media would pick a story about a gorilla escaping a zoo and running into a nearby neighborhood over a story about Canadian book-buying habits (both real stories). That’s what interests most people and what they want to know more about.
Nothing is perfect. Yes, there are biased journalists out there, but there are certainly good journalists out there as well.
As a student studying journalism at Franciscan University, I have learned all the rules that go into covering the news. This is not saying that because the rules are there that the media is justified, but I have seen how strict the media can be on accuracy and correctness.
If a fact mentioned in a news story is incorrect, or a person is falsely accused due to wording, the media that published the story can be sued and even taken down.
In one of my previous classes, if a student had a typo, misspelled a last name or stated an incorrect fact, 50% of the grade was taken away for the assignment. This training for future jobs carries into the work journalists do upon graduation. The media is held to much more accountability than one would think.
It is always smart to approach any kind of media with some level of skepticism, but with loads of information just a click away, the media today is held to a much higher level of accountability than ever before.