News finds students on social media


Eric Urbanowicz Special to The Southern News 

As he prepares to begin his radio show, Jon Reynolds, the news director at Southern Connecticut State University’s radio station, WSIN, scrolls through the latest news on his cell phone. While scrolling through the different pages of news sites, he jots down the most eye-catching stories and stories he believes his audience will enjoy.

The way the public receives news over the past decades has evolved through different stages. What started out as newspapers, turned into radio would evolve into television, which would turn into Internet and now has taken the form of social media.

“I’d say when it comes to where I get the most local news, it’s from Facebook,” said Reynolds. “Its good because I can usually fact check things right away instead of just believing the one source I read. I think its good overall, People are more informed than they’ve ever been, however People don’t always check their sources and will just believe whatever they read.”

Reynolds, like 41 percent of Americans according to the Pew Research Center (2011), gets his news from the Internet. Unlike Reynolds, they don’t always look into the story and how factual it is. Over the course of the past few years, several celebrities including Hulk Hogan, Wayne Knight, and Jackie Chan, have had their “deaths” shared on the Facebook, which turned out to be hoaxes.

Like millions who go onto Facebook, every day, Jemima Sam, the promotions director at SCSU TV, also sees the different news stories, and just like Reynolds, questions their accuracy.

“Social media is not the best source of news,” said Sam, “unless you’re following credible sources that post on social media as well.”

She mainly gets her news from social media, before checking its accuracy on MSN news online. Being a part of one of the media sources on the Southern Connecticut State University, she helps promote stories that have been dug into by her staff of writers and reporters.

While Reynolds and Sam don’t necessarily see social media as the best tool for the news, Austin Wheaton, a student at Southern, believes it to be a good thing.

“Well I guess it helps spread it. Everything on the news is always on Facebook for sure,” said Wheaton, a supporter of MSNBC and CNN.

While he will not listen to Fox news, he believes that Facebook is a good source for material since people post stories on their page.

Wheaton said he doesn’t believe Fox news to be a credible source because it leans more towards the republican side of the political spectrum.

With more social media sites launching, news spreads even more rapidly, even if someone doesn’t have a Facebook. With over 200 social media websites including Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit, it appears impossible for someone not have any form of social media. News traveling faster than ever, and updates being released as the event is going on, the world has become more connected than ever, however it comes at a cost of stories not always being as accurate as they may seem.

As the legendary Bill Nye once said, “The information you get from social media is not a substitute for academic discipline at all.”

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