By CLAIRE EKAS, CARTER HALL and BLASS GUERRERO, Staff Reporters ¦
We are writing to you as student journalists who value the role journalism plays in our society and are grateful for the opportunity AC Student Media provides. As staff members for “The Ranger,” we are learning to gather information, interview sources and write news stories. We are learning how to share our voices and we are gaining skills that will help us not just in journalism, but in any career.
Many of us are not pursuing journalism careers or majoring in mass media, but we recognize the importance of having reliable news sources both in college and beyond.
Working on “The Ranger” staff has given us an understanding of the importance of reliable journalism. That’s why we’re worried. As a society, we have become lazy. We want to be informed about current events, but we don’t want to spend the time researching all sides of an issue to develop our own individual opinions. We would rather have someone else tell us what we should think.
This is unacceptable. We have to stop whole-heartedly believing everything we hear or read. When you hear about a tragic event that has happened, look the event up and read a few different stories from a few different sources. Don’t just find the most inflammatory headline and believe what is stated in the story. The entire purpose of an inflammatory headline is to get more people to read the story. Just because you read something provocative and jaw dropping, doesn’t mean it’s true.
No matter how people receive news, they have their favorite sources that they consider reliable. Trying to find a reliable online source can be risky business because there is a lot of online news. The prevalence of online news has created a sense of distrust among many readers.
The most reliable news sources tend to be the most unbiased. The key word there being “most,” because human beings run news outlets and by nature we all have our own biases. Nevertheless, there are responsible journalists who give readers the facts, and leave out one-sided analysis and interpretation.
Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, are not appropriate news sources. In fact, they ARE NOT news sources. They are really just outlets for us to share funny videos and interesting things with our friends and family.
We urge you to spare us all the trouble and spend a little more time fact-checking stories before you proceed to write a lengthy and angrily worded Facebook rant about the most recent topic in the news.
As student journalists, we are grateful for the opportunities AC Student Media gives us. We are gaining firsthand exposure to the value of responsible journalism and the danger of irresponsible journalism.
We also realize that as readers and viewers of diverse news media outlets, we too have a responsibility–a responsibility to use our critical thinking skills when evaluating sources and refrain from spreading biased, exaggerated or false reports.
Responsible journalism is the cornerstone of an effective democracy, but, as citizens, it is our civic duty to seek unbiased sources and remember to use our own logic and reasoning.