Students acquire news from online sources

by Student Writer Katie Liggin

Social media has become a staple in the lives of today’s generation, but the growing use of social websites do not always have the best consequences.

Online platforms allow their users to communicate and retrieve fast news. However, users might not be aware of the risks involved with finding news via social media, said Department of Communications Chair Butler Cain.

Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults regularly use social media as a news outlet, and 18 percent obtain news from social media often, according to journalism.org.

But social media is not the most trustworthy news source, Cain said.

“Sometimes discovering breaking news on social media is quite easy to do,” Cain said. “Sometimes that’s real time, and maybe it hasn’t been vetted yet. Maybe it hasn’t gone through the journalistic process of verification.”

Social media produces a massive amount of information. Around 500 million tweets are sent out every day, according to InternetLiveStats.com.

Freshman Jalyn Cosby said he uses Twitter two or three times a day to check for news but always verifies it with more credible sources.

“So one of the problems as news is unfolding is that, if you are following it as it unfolds on social media, you need to take a step back and understand that this is all raw information, and it might be wrong,” Cain said.

Cain said if students use social media for news, they should always go back to a credible news source.

“I think young adults need to do a better job of finding and paying attention to news and information,” Cain said.

Students should take the time to verify information before sharing it with others, said Communications Professor Beth Garfrerick.

“Students will post something, where there was an incident, a shooting or something, that occurred two years ago,” she said. “They just don’t pay attention to the original posting of that, and so they just share without thinking and looking closely at the date.”

To prevent spreading outdated and inaccurate information, students should talk directly to the story’s subjects, if possible, she said.

Students should learn the difference between gossip and a viable source, she said.

“I do think that younger people should pay more attention to what they see and hear in the news because (that) can help them have a better understanding of what is going on (in) social media,” said freshman Suzi Day. “They have better facts to back information up.”

Students need to verify these facts though, Cain said.

Students should never blindly trust the news source, said sophomore Chloe Brownell.

“Consider the source,” Brownell said. “Some sources are going to be biased or show you one side of the story and make you believe what they want you to believe.”

Students should be aware of what comes across their social media and they should not always take what their friends post on their timelines at face value, said Marketing Professor Tim Butler.

As social platforms become more of everyday life, there’s a need for millennials to be responsible online, said junior Bradley Boak.