Everything I Need to Know, I Can Learn From the Internet

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I’m starting to think that television news is becoming less and less relevant.

Don’t get me wrong–I know that a credible news broadcast is probably the most reliable and accurate source of information, besides a newspaper article. During a huge news story, I might be inclined to tune in, but chances are, I wouldn’t have even known about the story if it weren’t for social media.

Once I see a tweet or an article shared on Facebook, I could turn the TV on and look for a news station covering that story. Or, since I’m already on the Internet, I could Google it to look for more details. This brings up the issue of “you can’t always believe everything you read on the Internet” so users must be wary of only reading articles from credible sources. Usually, blurbs sent out from social media will have a link to a credible article to click on for more details. 

For instance, today, I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed and saw a strange article that someone had shared. I didn’t even have to read past the title (“Leonardo DiCaprio to play MLK in new movie”) to know that it was a parody article, but some people just don’t have enough internet education to know that the article wasn’t credible. 

But, if CNN tweeted something like, “Missing aircraft found after over a month, click on the following link for details,” I would be able to trust that information without turning the TV on to confirm. Everything that news anchors could be saying on a broadcast is probably on a web story anyways. Often, news anchors will even tell their viewers to look at their website for more details on the story since a news broadcast is under a time restriction. 

My point is that I wouldn’t have been watching the TV to be told to go to the website, in the first place. The only way I would know if a missing aircraft was found is if anyone I followed tweeted or retweeted about it, or if a Facebook friend posted or shared. Then, since it would spark my interest, I would work on finding a credible Internet source to learn more specific details. 

Signs an Internet source may be credible:

  • It is an online version of a newspaper article or broadcasted news story
  • It is a news website that isn’t affiliated with gossip or theories
  • It is has a .com or .org suffix

If you are still unsure if what you are reading is tabloid trash or real news, read this article put out by George Mason University to try to clear things up (the .edu suffix means it is an educational website).

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