The media shapes our beliefs as we get information from several sources through our television, computer, phone or tablet. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram flash information that we cannot ignore as we are constantly with our phone or tablet. Information from these sites influence us in our daily lives and our relationships.
Change of Views?
Looking back at my first entry in this course nine weeks ago, my perspective on media influences on us has not changed. My view of world events, no doubt, has been influenced by the media. An example is this case of the Zika virus in South America. People, especially pregnant women, have become apprehensive that the disease might get to the United States and to them. The news of the Zika virus is all over the media. People are apprehensive and afraid of travelling outside the country. Just as I try to forget about this virus and its dangers, the media reports new outbreaks and sometimes flash it on the internet as breaking news. The media, no doubt, is telling us what to think about and how to think about them.
Role Writers play in the Dissemination of Information
Writers play an important role in the dissemination of information. The public relies so much on writers, or those in the media to do their research and deliver the truth. One important Code of Ethics for Journalists is to “seek truth and report it.” In as much as the public looks forward to breaking news from social media, they still know that there is no code of ethics that bind those who use social media for breaking news. The public, therefore hold professional writers to a higher standard expecting them to have more evidence before making their stories public. Even bloggers or unprofessional writers are expected to share the truth on an issue and to do their research before sharing their views with us. Accountability and reliability is required or expected of any writer to make their stories worth believing.
When writers do not act ethically in delivering the news or information, the public is deceived and misled and when the public finds that they have been deceived or misinformed, they lose trust in that particular news media or writer. The public is in danger when they are misinformed. In the course of reporting a story, writers have made mistakes with a whole story or part of the story. Professional writers seem to be competing with nonprofessionals who blog, twit, use Facebook or other social media to disseminate information. Even the public excuses these mistakes. In the case of an event that is of a deadly nature, Kovach and Rossenstiel (2010) state that “this is an event that we want to know about instantly while events are still unfolding, and given that, we might forgive a certain amount of uncertainty and confusion.”
Media Literacy And Influence on Content Consumers
Media literacy is a good thing to have in this 21st century where everything around us is controlled by the media and technology. We are so consumed by the media and technology that we are constantly at the computer on the internet, on Facebook or in our email. We are also on our phone or tablet checking out twits, text messages or other instant messages that we bombarded with the same messages in different ways to keep us in tune with what is happening in the world.
In conclusion, the media is powerful in the way they control our belief, relationship and culture. In this age of technology and social media, writers are still held to a higher standard as they share their stories or opinions on as professionals or non-professionals.
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). The Tradecraft of Verification. In Blur (pp. 36-50).
New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.
Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2016, from