Generate Informed Opinions!

Research your facts, study the whole story before judging others or speaking your mind
In the age of technology, we are surrounded by noise, or interference, when it comes to creating an informed opinion. It is far too easy to simply listen to what a friend says or read an article by the news media and develop an opinion based on a single argument.In reality, to form a truly informed opinion, an individual must conduct his own opinion by seeking out influence from not only the news media but also from the voice of the people, more commonly known as social media now-a-days.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that members of the news media are prone to going for shock value.Ever heard of the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads?” As journalists, this is our mantra. So, what happens when the story in question just isn’t quite as scandalous as we’d like? Well, some journalists’ word choice will make up for the missing content while others will hunt down more facts.Contrary to popular belief, numbers are a journalist’s best friend. Any statistic can be fabricated to fit the angle of the story. When a journalist says “majority vote,” the statistic could range from 51 percent to 99 percent, so be wary.

It’s not wrong to spruce up a story, but it’s also important for readers to understand that they must read as much as possible about a developing story to get the real facts. And, even when doing so, keep in mind that the world of journalism is cut throat.

News outlets compete not only to post the first story but also to have the most sensational story. Remember that the media can also only report on what it has access to, so in many cases, information is missing.

Social media is powerful but dangerous. Look at Egypt; an entire revolution was organized and implemented through social media networks. Wow. In today’s society, you’re pretty much considered weird if you aren’t connected electronically in some way.

When news breaks, one lucky individual is responsible for the start of a new trend. She posts a link on her social media network of choice and boom. Instant viral link. Soon, everyone is talking about it and retweeting or posting the same link. Forget researching for new developments. And of course, everyone has something to say about the latest scandal on the rise.

Keep in mind that your friends’ opinions aren’t always backed up by fact. Social media is a giant outlet for people to rant and complain. Angry people feed on each other’s emotions and soon an issue can escalate as a result.

Social media may be an excellent resource for spreading information and organizing events but it falls short where liability is concerned. There’s a lack of restraint when tweeting or posting status updates on Facebook.

Don’t be the next victim of ignorance. Avoid complacency in our technology based “Brave New World.”

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This article originally appeared in the Nov. 10 issue of the Setonian. Although it has no byline, I wrote the article based on the opinions and emotions of our editorial staff.

Check out my other article from this issue…

Federal authorities deny bail for professor This is a developing story at Seton Hill University.

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