Homegrown News Goes Viral

Is it news or gossip?

May 17, 2017

Set into the floor of the main entrance of the University of Washington is a mosaic of a compass. The points of the compass are set so that it spells out “NEWS.”

In today’s world, news travels fast. With one tap of a button stories can reach all corners of the world in less time than it takes to pour a cup of coffee. Consequently when a story is breaking, the pressure for news outlets to be the first to get the word out is high. No one wants to be behind.

However, the standard for accuracy has not changed. In today’s world with technology being used so much, it may be more critical.

People have always shared things that are emotional or sensational, but the facts are often missed. For example, does any one know the real story behind why Brad’s wife got fired from Cracker Barrel?

In the news world, there is only one chance to get the story right. Retractions and corrections happen, but by then people have already acted on what came first. Look at how many times have people cried because Betty White or Chuck Norris died.

It is one thing to share a story among friends. Conversations like, “Hey, guess what I saw in my Facebook today?” are common. The problem becomes when those stories are taken as fact. A picture of students facing a hallway is used to support claims that Islam is being taught in schools. All it takes is a click of the mouse to determine that in fact it is a tornado drill.

An extra ten seconds to stop and think if a story is real and checking the facts supporting it means the difference between credibility and gossip. While the gossip may be more sensational, the facts are the cornerstone on which news rests.

Social media and the Internet as a whole is a great place to find news. Those presenting the news have a responsibility to be honest and accurate. Those reading about current events have an equal responsibility to check the truthfulness before sharing

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