The media – use it wisely

The media is people’s main source of information on the public sector, the private sector and other areas of life. While social scientists (including but not limited to political scientists, historians, economists, sociologists), journalists and reporters would be more inclined to use information from official websites in order to find out what they are looking for and analyze it for the people, the latter, which in this article I will refer to as the public, don’t have time to conduct an extensive research on their subject of interest.

Therefore, that same public would rely on those same social scientists, journalists and reporters to find the answer for them. All that the public has to do is read the works written by social scientists, journalists and reporters on a certain matter, and form an opinion after that.

Eventually everybody wins – social scientists for having done their job and for having been paid for it, and the public for having received the information that it needs in a most efficient way. My blog on Connecticut politics serves a similar purpose. It informs the public about news that happened in Connecticut for the past week in one article. Thus the public doesn’t need to read 3-4 newspapers and watch two news channels in order to keep track of public affairs in the state. That’s efficient, isn’t it?

Good news articles often contain past events that led to the news discussed in them, and these past events are usually written in the most concise manner possible so that members of the public who read them could learn the main facts. Thus these members of the public are able to find information about an affair that they haven’t kept track of in one article in order to form an opinion.

I think that in a perfect world driven by information technology in the same way as today, every news website would be self-sufficient. In a perfect world the public would not need other websites to find out more information about a matter. Instead there would be several self-sufficient websites but members of the public would individually choose to follow just one of them. For example, person A would follow the news on BBC, person B would do the same on CNN, person C would prefer MSNBC, and so on.

However, our world is not as perfect in this respect as I would like it to be so I would want to make sure that I take advantage of what every news website is likely to give me.

If I want to learn more – or keep track of – what is going on in Europe, for example, I will receive different benefits from BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, and CNN – arguably the most famous news websites.

On the BBC website besides some of the different news articles compared to the other news websites discussed below there are also foreign language websites as part of its world service program and country and territory profiles. The profile pages are very useful not just for getting general information about the country or the territory but also for getting acquainted with their local media whose websites can be accessed from there. These two features make the BBC website an excellent means of getting the latest information in Europe in a very efficient manner even if English is not your proficiency.

The CNN website is shorter in content but notice that the “top Europe stories” are almost completely different from what the BBC features on its Europe page. This CNN web page could be reached both through its U.S. and through its international editions both of which feature the same stories.

The MSNBC website may not have the features mentioned above that the BBC website has but it has a special reports feature on the right (The Changing Face of Europe or Frontier: Europe). I think that these special reports are more interactive and better developed

than analyses and special reports on BBC or other news websites.

The Fox website turned out to be the least informative one not including the ABC website. I don’t see the Shell oil spill story or the German commemoration marking the 50 anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall featured on BBC.co.uk CNN.com and MSNBC.MSN.com.

On the ABC website I struggled to find articles on Europe. The closest I could get was their world news web page “with Diane Sawyer.”

As you can see, we are likely to benefit differently from different news websites so we have to use them wisely.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The media – use it wisely

  1. We should not forget that media outlets, although crowned the modern patrons of truth, are not free of bias or even agendas. As G. K. Chesterton has said, “Journalists do control public opinion; but it is not controlled by the arguments they publish – it is controlled by the arguments between the editor and sub-editor, which they do not publish.” (from the book ‘All Things Considered’, which I think you may really enjoy,too). That is precisely why we need to reach out to more than one source of information in order to see more bits of the picture.
    Regarding World and European news, I never go to SNN, as I’ve been disappointed many times by their failure to even recognize significant events, let alone offer a decent commentary.

  2. I cannot agree more with you, Dima. Thankfully Canaiden Media, which I am still interning for, has given me the liberty to be objective in my articles rather than be censored by presenting one side of an argument only.

    In this article by benefits I mean what information in the form of data, or a stated fact, one could get. A perfect example for this is the BBC one: You want to know more about a country? Just go to its profile on BBC and see all the information posted there. You think it is not trustworthy or you want to know more about the country’s news – news not worth reporting on the BBC website? The country’s URL on the BBC website gives you a list of their media outlets, including some that are in English, provided that you don’t know that country’s language. This benefit is not found on every news website. It’s the same with the MSNBC website’s rubrique “The Changing Face of Europe.”

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