When I talk to people from my parent's generation, they always say that when they were my age, they relied on the local paper for their political news. They could not imagine going a day without reading it. However, I know I get most of my news from posts on social media and it made me wonder if other people in my age bracket did the same thing. Here are six college students responses to the question below:
1. Riley T.*, Undeclared Major, Freshman, Binghamton University
"I tend to get my news off of Twitter (I only really have Twitter so I can get my news faster) or Facebook but I follow news sources like the New York Times, CNN, CBS News, BBC News, and so forth. It's just so much easier and accessible if news is displayed on my twitter feed than reading a newspaper or going to the news organizations' websites. This millennial generation is raised on the idea that everything should be instantaneous and news is one of them. I also do watch the news on TV as much as I can but I have a busy schedule as a college student and again, getting the news in my Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline is much faster."
2. Emma J., Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and International Business major with a minor in French, Freshman, Ithaca College
"Because I am a finance and International Business student, I have to keep up to date on fiscal policies the government is making and current events within corporations. I check yahoo finance a couple of times a week to see how the stocks of my favorite companies are doing, as well as, the prices of stocks that I own. I also read the New York Times through their app. They have a nice feature called the “morning brief” where they put excerpts from their top stories in a single article. This is a nice way to stay knowledgeable for busy college students who don’t have the time to read 4+ articles before class.
I have also been studying French for 6 years, so I have been following the French election carefully. I read both articles in French (lemonde.fr) and articles in English (The New York Times). It was extremely alarming how the xenophobic and hateful rhetoric of Marie Le Pen mirrored Donald Trump’s campaign and the Brexit campaign last summer. I am very thankful that Macron won with such a large margin over Le Pen because it shows that France values diversity, inclusion and change over the policies of isolationism being enacted in the United States and United Kingdom."
3. Nicole D., Education major, Sophomore, University of Connecticut
"I normally get my news from different articles on the news app. I try to use reliable sources like PBS and ABC and not just look at the articles that happen to be trending. I also sometimes read through the newspaper at my school and learn about more local and national news. When I go on Facebook, I'm also bombarded with news stories and sometimes I skim through them, but usually I do more research after seeing the headlines to make sure it's real, or to get other sources and their versions. A lot of the stories I see on Facebook are from more biased sites so I don't like to just rely on that."
4. Sarah O., Medical Imaging major, Freshman, Ramapo College
"I don't get my political news from one specific medium, but rather through word of mouth and articles and videos that my friends share on Facebook."
5. Kate S., Political Science and Psychology major, Freshman, University of Connecticut
"I typically get my political news from a bunch of different sources. I read my local newspaper almost every day, and I always watch CNN, The New York Times, and Washington Post Snapchat stories. Also, if I’m scrolling through Facebook and I see someone has shared an article I’m interested in that I can tell is from a good source, I’ll read that too."
6. Faith F., Social Work major, Junior, Ramapo College
"I find out a big majority of my news on Facebook. It is easier that way because I can access it in my phone at any time. A lot of my friends are democrats and are very passionate about things surrounding the president. I can see one article shared by numerous people or read posts about them ranting their views. The news I can see on Facebook is very limited though. I can only see what the people I know post and I am typically only friends with people who share my views, so really the news I see is filtered. Since they are my friends I typically do not doubt the information they post but in reality, I do not know if it is reliable information, I do not fact check it. Sometimes all I see in Facebook is people ranting about the same things, but what if it is not legit? What if we are just spreading around articles that make us passionately mad and getting ourselves riled up based on something that tries to warrant that response? It became too much to go on Facebook because then everything I saw either made me sad, angry, or anxious. I want to go on Facebook to relax and step away from what's going on in the world, but it's no longer that haven. I stopped going on Facebook for that reason and when I did, I realized I had no idea what was happening in the world. It was nice to shut that off for a while because nobody wants to be sad, angry, and anxious on the time. But not staying in with the news did not mean nothing was happening, I was just remaining ignorant. In the long run it is better to know than to not know and let the problem persist. But I still wonder if the news I am seeing is legitimate, is there another side I am not seeing, is there something the government is hiding? I want to have all the facts to base my opinion around, but if I am being honest Facebook news does not give me all the facts."
It's understandable why people in my age bracket rely on social media to keep up to date on politics. As mentioned above, it is fast and easy, especially if one has an iPhone, android or tablet. However, social media allows a person to filter the political opinions they see. The algorithm of a newsfeed makes a social media platform display articles, videos and pictures that it thinks an individual will like based on what the individual has already watched or read on said platform. This leaves people in the dark when it comes to other opinions. This makes me wonder if is it a good thing that people of my generation, including myself, rely on social media so heavily for their political news.
*A name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual contributing.
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