In today’s society, it is possible to hear about late-breaking news without having to rely on newspapers and news channels such as CNN, Fox and NBC. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have become outlets for late-breaking news.
Newspapers and news channels generally report the information that they have from a non-biased viewpoint. However, social media provides the bystander’s viewpoint, something not usually expressed in traditional news.
With events such as natural disasters and the protests in Ferguson, newspapers and news channels do not always cover all aspects of the story. As a St. Louis native, I used Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook to stay updated on the Ferguson protest. Though I also read newspapers and watched news channels, social media outlets informed me about what was going on from my friends’ and family’s perspective. I knew people who were either participating in the protest or had seen it firsthand. Their post on social media included several details that newspapers and news channels did not include, and allowed me to interact with K-State students from St. Louis.
“It seemed like the newspapers and the news channels tried to take focus off of the actual issue and only portrayed negative behavior,” said Dominic White, junior in architecture. “It really disturbed me, because there are people from my hometown of St. Louis fighting for a positive cause and they are wrongfully being portrayed negatively.”
With social media, you can follow or friend people and groups that you like and interact with them. The interaction gets questions answered that the news outlets did not cover. Social media also allows you to talk about things that news outlets have not talked about or will not address. Plus, you can talk about news events with your loved ones, especially if that news event directly affected them.
People rely on social media for informal updates and staying connected to loved ones. Communication is very important for people in affected areas and for families and friends waiting for news. For example, Facebook is working on a new app called Safety Check. This app lets people know their loved ones are safe by checking on others in the selected area, and mark your friends as safe.
News channels and newspapers can’t tell you if your loved ones are okay. However, social media can provide you with the security to make sure that your loved ones are fine.
With social media, users can post a link and others can repost or retweet that link. The links on these social media networks can be posted on any day at any given time. However, newspapers only come out once a day and even the 24-hour news cycle can’t compete with the Internet’s speed.
“I prefer to get the news from Facebook,” said Erika Davis, program administrative assistant for Union Program Council. “News channels make news sound so depressing. I prefer Facebook because it is more convenient and quicker. I don’t have to wait until 6 o’clock to watch the news.”
With social media, news stories and details can get out faster. In addition, you do not have to watch an entire news program when you want to see one segment. On platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, you can view the exact clip that you want to see. They also tend to have more attractive headlines and there is less to read.
It seems that people in today’s generation care more about the news when it is reported by less formal sources. I look at stories on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and then check credible news sources to make sure the story is true. Social media (like Buzzfeed) breaks the news first, and TV and newspapers confirm news.
I absolutely love Buzzfeed and find it entertaining, but I know that I cannot use it as a credible source.
“Buzzfeed is community generated and can be created by anyone. It has rich headlines, awesome gifs, but poor content,” said Jeremy Cline, junior in entrepreneurship.
Overall, I believe social media is very beneficial to news reporting. These platforms provide fast, frequent news stories and news stories update. Social media also provides a plethora of opinions and facts about anything and everything that you would want to discuss and you could think about.
Last but not least, social media showcases the bystander viewpoint and allows the general public to give their full side of a story. Newspapers and news channels are reliable, but social media is more appealing and provides information at a faster and more appealing rate.
Taneysha Howard is a senior in agricultural communications and journalism.