FOCUS: Engaging with media
by RAQUEL DIAZ & JUSTIN LEE
Events spanning both local and international spheres have consequences that can ripple into one’s life; therefore, it is imperative to be aware of these events.
Individuals are primarily exposed to media passively, by merely reading headlines and not engaging with the information through discussing or questioning it. Taking in news passively is just the surface of understanding news; it does not go beyond knowing the material and does not encourage new ideas. Information is simply being recycled.
People are often made aware of news and develop opinions on such topics based on family and media perspectives. Parents instill values and beliefs in their children by sharing with them and presenting their ideas as fact. This phenomenon is called political socialization, according to academia.edu.
Another factor of political socialization is the media. Media is developing such a relevance to societal perceptions of worldly issues that, according to civiced.org, it is superseding the role of family in shaping children’s ideologies.
Reading any form of media passively, however, does not effectively eradicate ignorance. One should try to recognize the bias in media by reading news stories from different sources that present opposite sides of the political spectrum, in order to recognize discrepancies and reveal potential inaccuracies.
A publication’s political affiliation affects how it presents information, influencing how the occurrence is perceived. For example, a conservative news source may portray proposed legislation on immigration in a negative light, omitting liberal views on the subject.
One must also be active in receiving media; most social networks share entertainment and sports news, which can detract attention from more important events that can be changing the course of history. While both types of news are relevant, a focus should be placed on issues affecting people’s lives; what happens in the entertainment industry is more commonly the focus of teenagers but rarely affects the general public, as it only affects those in the industry.
Because entertainment or gossip is more popular with the average consumer, it generates more views on websites, propelling it into a trending, constantly shared topic. Despite the fact that social issues such as Islamophobic injustice may be trending, entertainment news, such as anything involving the Kardashians, trends more often and for a longer period of time, according to medialit.org.
Because advances in technology make accurate and diverse news sources easily accessible through the internet, teen readers are not limited to what popular publications and social media users choose to cover. They can circumvent the superfluous trending topics and seek more important topics to gain insight. If students are more aware of these issues, they can take action based upon their informed realizations and opinions.
According to naa.org, online publications, such as nytimes.com, are receiving a dramatic increase in website traffic, as consumers are choosing online news outlets. This is also due to media becoming increasingly accessible through phones, tablets and personal computers.
Because the younger generation tends to be more impressionable, teens who read frequently from a wide variety of sources will be able to form their own opinions.
Knowledge and awareness are tools of empowerment that allow teenagers to use their voices to defend their opinions, backed up and developed through reading essential news.
Q & A with Sarkis Sandukhtyan
Q. Why do you feel that it is important for Montebello to have its own newspaper?
A. There are many newspaper options in Los Angeles, but none cover events happening in Montebello on an ongoing basis. A local paper allows the community to stay engaged with the city and [allows] opportunities to be more involved.
Q. To what extent does the media influence people?
A. The media plays a large role in influencing the public. The way a story is portrayed or spun affects a significant portion of the readers. The media helps shape views on local trends, popular music, politics, and local and national affairs.
Q. How has technology shaped the way people access their news?
A. The way the public gets news continues to change with the fast evolving digital age, especially with mobile devices being so advanced. Some of these shifts raise questions about the quality of news being consumed, but, overall, technology has helped the media become more immediate.
Q. Is it important that the general public is aware of current issues? If so, why?
A. With so much going on in our daily lives and the growth of digital media, it is getting harder to stay up-to-date with current events, but I feel that it is immensely important for audiences (even younger ones) to follow current events. With social media, it is easy to get entertainment news and celebrity scandals, but going that extra mile to find political, international and even local news is more necessary than ever, because of how interconnected all of our lives are.
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