On Monday, February 11, former newspaper editor Dave Stancliff moderated the bimonthly #LearnTalk twitter chat. The subject was “Bias in the Media.” Participants discussed reasons for bias in the media as well as reputable news sources, determining that most mainstream media sources are politically aligned and often chasing ratings. Objectivity seems to be a thing of the past, with many news broadcasts substituting the editorial voice where journalists once said, “And that’s the way it is.” Chat participants stated that they frequent overseas news broadcasts for greater depth of coverage and objectivity than currently found in the United States.
The media is changing today, with over 90% of American news outlets owned by six conglomerates—because of this, our choice in news sources, while seemingly larger due to 24 hour cable stations, is not, in reality, all that diverse.
However, the Internet provides limitless opportunities for “citizen journalists,” as we saw in Egypt during the Arab Spring, later chronicled in “How Facebook Changed the World.” Real-time reporting may not cut out bias, but it allows news-seekers primary source videos and interviews that are often going live in real-time. Chat participants discussed the importance of the citizen journalist, and whether or not there should be training for non-journalists reporting the news.
The bottom line is that there are many choices in news sources. Between social media, established network news, citizen watchdogs, the print media, and cable news, readers and feeds, it’s becoming more and more critical for the news consumer to evaluate the perspective being given and arrive at his or her own conclusions.
This Learnist board represents some of the topics touched upon in last night’s installment of #LearnTalk. Please feel free to add to this board as well, using the “suggest a learning” feature.