Social media apps no substitute for journalism

The number of journalism jobs continues to decline as social media takes its place, and instead of reporting credible news, it frequently sends out misinformation to the public.

Ever since the release of the smartphone, the piece of technology’s popularity has continued to grow creating social media apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and many others. Although the internet has greatly advanced human society, social media sites are often big places for misinformation. In a survey done by in 2021, 53 percent of American adults said they get their information from social media sites. Another survey done in 2016 said that 64 percent of American adults say that fake news stories cause them to confuse real and fake news stories. With all of these people receiving misinformation, how can we make informed decisions? 

Originally the public often looked to journalists for their information, but since the early 2000s during journalism’s peak, newspaper subscriptions and advertising revenue have nearly fallen by a quarter. Many think the fall connects to the rise of mistrust in journalists. Some have begun to call journalists “the enemy of the people” as stated by Brian Winkel, an English and journalism teacher. Winkel, however, sees journalists as a voice for the people. 

“The enemy of the people. I can’t think of something that I disagree with more. I think that journalists should ask tough questions from every side. If you are not strong enough to stand for that scrutiny, then you shouldn’t be in the public service,” Winkel said.

One theory suggesting why there has been a rising mistrust in journalists could be rooted in so-called “journalists.” Before technology, many news organizations would print newspapers in order to share their stories. Now many have migrated to online websites such as the Tiger Hi-Line itself or bigger companies such as the New York Times that have many online articles. The process of writing a story would be a long one and the story would have to go through several different people just to be published. Now all you have to do to post a story online is type it out and click a few buttons and anyone can read it. This has caused so-called “journalists,” often those with bias, to stem mistrust in the public and for many to think of real journalists as liars and frauds.

“I think people are going to the wrong sources and calling it journalism,” Winkel said. “I’m also very critical of some sources that people use. There’s also people who, when real journalists ask targeted questions that the public needs to know the answer to, respond with attacks about the viability of that journalism platform.” 

Although technology has caused an increase in the spread of misinformation, that doesn’t mean one can’t see through the lies. Remember to check the sources an article uses, see who wrote the article and check for bias and always double check information to stay informed and push for the truth.

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