It’s not all black and white anymore

With unreliable media outlets, up to consumer to find actual news

Fruehauf is a junior journalism major at UW-Eau Claire and Sports Editor for The Spectator. Fruehauf can be reached at [email protected] or @Frue_Daddy.

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Sports Editor

It’s no secret media have entered the current era carrying the weight of an overwhelmingly poor image. Growing criticism over political affiliation and sensationalism has made even major news outlets look unreliable. So why does it seem journalists still have serious hold over the general public?

People still need the news. Manipulated or not, it still means more to the average person to be educated on current events than to be in the dark. But even if they wanted to remain in the dark, that is even becoming more difficult with the influence media have over social media.

First used as a way to transition from print journalism to digital, news organizations joined social media outlets as a way to keep their following. Now it seems they troll the Internet trying to find different ways of bothering the public. Increasing advertisements and pop-ups are literally putting news in front of the public now, unbiased or not.

What does it actually mean to receive the news now? It’s certainly not what it used to be. Most media have lost touch with ethical journalism and keeping an unbiased stance on big topics. They are instead trying to influence the public into reading about what they think is important rather than the other way around.

Sensationalism has emerged as one of their main tactics of manipulation. Media outlets are now using creative language to inflate unimportant news into headlines. Thus, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to sift through and find what is actually worth knowing.

Although, I hesitate to say all sensationalism is bad because there are some stories from respectable news organizations that demand the public’s main attention. But when Jennifer Aniston turning 40 is the topic of discussion for an entire week, I draw the line. Even if Jen is one of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen.

Simply put, there needs to be a separation between what is influencing the public and what the public’s attention is influencing. Unfortunately, I don’t see news organizations giving up increased revenue for black and white journalism.

Rather, it seems the change will fall onto the consumer. People now need to adjust the way they receive news. They aren’t receiving information the same way Walter Cronkite delivered it back in the day. Instead, the public needs to adapt.

It’s like taking the training wheels off of a child’s bike for the first time. Up until that point, training wheels were the only way they were able to stay up on their bike. Now they need to learn how to do it without them. The general public used to receive unbiased news, but now they need to figure out how to find what’s really important.

To respond to media manipulation, people need to first realize how easily they are being influenced by sensationalized news. Then they need to develop a harder skin and work towards finding what really seems important to them, or at least find an outlet they can agree with.