From writing on cave walls to paper, and from paper to an epic digital screen, our means of obtaining information has definitely changed over time. Our generation has been blessed with such convenience of learning. The spread and access of news is remarkably convenient that we tend to overlook the credibility of what we hear and see. Where is all this news coming from? If it’s broadcasted by CNN or published in The Wall Street Journal then we should believe it. Or at least, that is what some would think. With so many news networks broadcasting all types of news, the real question should be, “What is true?”
In my opinion, the most dynamic transformation of news media is how television and cable mutated into digital technology and the internet. This was definitely a major change in news media that altered a lot in our world. It was a jump from news confinement to news freedom.
With television, people were confined to whatever was being broadcasted. If you wanted to learn what was going on in China, you had to wait for reporters to broadcast it. If you did not like a reporter’s stance, you were forced to listen to them as they taught you what was going on in the political realm. Television gave you only a few options: turn off the TV, watch and endure the biases of a reporter, or change the channel to something you don’t want to watch. However, TV has also modernized into broadcasting the news from several news networks. Although some things have changed, television continues to hold some power over their audience by limiting them to what they learned. You either watch it and learn, or don’t.
While TV had limited options, the internet held unlimited options. The Pew Research Center found that at least 67 percent of Americans use social media as their news source. If I were to choose between sitting in front of the TV, reading a newspaper, or surfing the Internet, I would definitely choose the Internet. Not only is it convenient, but mostly because I have several options and sources to browse through. If it weren’t for the invention of the Internet, people would be living in a world that depended almost entirely on the work of journalists and reporters for news updates. With the internet, we are free to do our own research. We are free to choose whatever we want to believe in and how to get information.
I enjoy the freedom of being able to choose my news and I’m sure the vast majority of news consumers feel the same way. But then again, that destroys the genuine purpose of journalism. Journalism involves extensive background checks of information. If we choose what we want to know, that would mean abandoning truth and accuracy for convenience and what satisfies and aligns with our personal opinions. At the same time, we can stumble upon credible sources that actually defend what we believe in.
Today, television and the internet are big rivals. When I watch a reporter giving the latest updates of the weather forecast, I often ask myself, “What is the point?” I could simply type in “weather forecast” into my search engine and the exact same information would come up. We are coming to a point where the job of a reporter is being lost to the ultimate Web. Will that be a good thing? Perhaps not.