In this age of journalism there are numerous factors that play into the production and reliability of the information we receive. Taking into account a time where our country was less technologically advanced, “current news” was primarily accessible to those who had seen it first hand or lived within a proximal distance. The evolution of technology has allowed a secondary source on one side of the world to present news and information to a consumer on another side of the world within seconds.
The job of journalists and news/broadcasting platforms are to present factual information free of any false implications or personal biases. Although in this day of age it often the case that our news is presented incorrectly. Whether it be that it is presented with factual information missing or with a strong personal bias, the news we receive is be presented in a way that is not true to its original story. The growing margin that social media and networking has created in journalism has benefitted society in the sense that a story can now be shared not just domestically but internationally, allowing journalism to expand the limitations it was confined to.
Unfortunately, the technological advancement of our society has allowed information from primary sources to be shared and be tampered with by secondary sources who then, share their versions of the same story allowing other third party sources to share or continue to change a story from its original format. The increasing digitization of American society has impacted how we as the consumers acquire and understand the news that is being shared with us and it has created the possibility for personal biases and opinions to prevent the truth from being shared.
Tony Rogers of ThoughtCo. brings up a valid point in his article, “What Issues Do Journalists Face Today” about the credibility of web journalism. Rogers states, “The internet certainly opened up the world for more people to write whatever they want, but that doesn’t mean all of these sources have the same credibility” (Rogers). The credibility of journalists can differ in many circumstances. Leaving us as the consumers vulnerable to misleading information.
One of the biggest growing problems in today’s journalism is the increase of people who seek entertainment through media outlets rather than the news being an outlet that is meant to inform the public of essential stories. In her essay Crucial Issues Surrounding Contemporary Journalism, Alana Mitchelson states, “Another area of growing concern is the gradual progression towards entertainment as opposed to presenting news with the primary purpose of informing and educating the public. The public demand for news as it happens places journalists in the difficult position of determining what stories are important against stories that will increase ratings whilst under the pressure of performing efficiently under deadlines” (Mitchelson, 2013). It is evident in our surroundings how much entertainment has influenced our presentation of media. There are various media programs such as E! News and Access Hollywood that often cater only to those who seek to gossip over inessential topics. However, these are the programs that often receive the most attention. Many of our local news stations like KTLA 5 are becoming familiar with main stream pop culture as well, broadcasting literally anything that they believe will appeal to the public’s growing capacity for entertainment over education.
The idea of our “national narrative” has changed with how we want to understand what we know in the media already. Our national narrative has become a matter of our “national interest” and what deem to be relevant. The restrictions placed one the journalism that is presented to us has therefore, suppressed our understanding of what our national narrative means overall. We are often alienated from many truths in journalism and the media for the sake of corporate agendas to remain protected. David Brookes, a columnist for The New York Times brings up an interesting point stating, “One of the things we’ve lost in this country is our story. It is the narrative that unites us around a common multigenerational project, that gives an overarching sense of meaning and purpose to our history” (Brookes, 2017). It is agreeable to say that without knowledge of our history and accurate presentation of journalism from the media, we would lack a basis from which we develop our the understanding of our national narrative.
Overall, journalism in today’s age is being reshaped to conform to the needs of the consumers rather than being a platform the educates the public. Although the changing ways of the media is not the problem by itself. Rather, it is us that allows ourselves to navigate our minds to only comprehend news that may be of interest to us and that satisfy our own opinions. In that sense we are limiting ourselves only to what we know and what we choose to learn. If what we know now has been flooded with bias or misleading information, it is we the consumers that suffer the most, ultimately creating the lack of understanding which is the most detrimental. The essential understanding of our national narrative depends on primarily what we already know. The continuation of the national narrative of this country relies on the commonship we share through knowledge.