According to the PEW Research Center in Washington D.C., nearly two thirds, or 68%, of adults across the nation get their news over social media. Of that 68%, 57% expect the news they receive over social media channels to be largely inaccurate.
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American think tank (referring to itself as a “fact tank”). It provides information on social issues, public opinion and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world. It also conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research. The Pew Research Center does not take policy positions, and is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. (per Wikipedia.org)
Breaking this down in numbers, our nation has a little more than 327.16 million adults who are 18 years or older. Sixty-eight percent of that would be 222.47 million adults getting their news over social media channels. And 126.81 million adults feel the news they receive over social media is inaccurate.
So, in essence, 40% of all adults across our nation search for news on sites they feel deliver inaccurate or false information. A little concerning if you ask me.
But what is even more concerning is that 1 in 4 adults, or nearly 65 million, reported sharing fabricated or false news after reading it. Knowing it was inaccurate.
In a separate report published by The Nieman Journalism Lab earlier this month, although a struggling industry trying to find its way through the digital age, the newspaper industry is still by far, the most significant journalism producers in their communities.
In this study, over 16,000 stories were pulled from 100 randomly sampled local newspaper websites across the US. Using the following criteria, these stories were analyzed to determine their local importance.
1. Was the story original?
2. Was the story local?
3. Did the story address a critical information need?
The report stated “quite convincingly, despite economic hardships that local newspapers have endured, they remain, by far, the most significant providers of journalism in their communities.
And while there is great hope and expectations that newer, online journalism sources will emerge to compensate for the cutbacks and closures affecting local newspapers, our study has shown that this has yet to take place.”
The full report and detailed methodology can be found at https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/09/local-newspapers-are-suffering-but-theyre-still-by-far-the-most-significant-journalism-producers-in-their-communities/.
It is very understandable that some individuals may find this information difficult to believe when they have heard for years that newspapers are a dying breed. However, with the increased reach newspapers now have with the addition of the internet, these reports are very accurate.
In this age of the information juggernaut, it can be difficult to find our way through to the information that best suits us.
Ultimately, no matter where you enjoy getting your news from, we must seek accurate information in stories and news that are published, not share stories that are inaccurate especially if we know that it is, share opinions on topics we agree with and disagree with, and be able to have open, civil conversations about our views.