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Does it matter where we get our news? How does the Mass Media affect our perception of the news?

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drmonica eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It doesn't matter where you get your news as long as you are getting it from a reliable source. I remember my high school journalism teacher cautioning that just because something appears in print doesn't make it factual; the same caution can be applied to items that appear on the internet, on gossip shows, etc.

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lrwilliams eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In todays world it does matter where you get your news from. There are so many sources of information available with the internet and some of them are more reliable than others. Even your major TV netrworks will put their own spin on some news stories and some of the internet news sites will attempt to sensationalize the news. News reporting is a very competitive business.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I don't mind a biased slant on the news, but I do like to see accuracy and honesty in reporting. As a journalism teacher, one of the most sacred rules of reporting is to get the facts right; there is no greater sin than a fact error. I expect to see differences between Fox Network news and the BBC, just as conservative and liberal papers will present their own angle on the news. Luckily, there are plenty of sources to keep us informed, and variety in the news helps us to see the same stories in different ways.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the first things that Napoleon Bonaparte did when he conquered a country was take over the newspapers.  If one reads the history of the top newspapers in the United States, there is much to consider when one reads them.  After all, the news media can affect the information that people receive as well as the way that people think about this information.

One asset of a newspaper is in its journalists who do have a code of ethics by which they live.  They are more committed to objectivity and to the "whole story" on events than other forms of media seem to be.  The recent movie, State of Play puts this point into perspective.  In one scene, the editor is angry with Russell Crowe's character because a competitor paper has had tremendous sales as a result of publishing an article on a report that Crowe's character would not write.  Crowe's character insists that there is a deeper truth to be found, and there is.

Without the keen investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein of The Washington Post, would President Nixon's dealings have been exposed?  On the other side of the coin, would our current president have won the election without such publications as Time magazine, which--by its own admission--put his picture on numerous issues and published such glowing articles? 

Indeed, the media is a powerful, powerful tool that can manipulate millions. Thus, in accord with posts #3 and #4 people will do well to read and not just listen to sound bytes and bits of information from other media; they need to be as informed from as many sources as they can in order to arrive at their own conclusions about issues.  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree with answer 3 more than answer 2 because #3 points out that ALL news is biased in some way.  But I don't really agree with her conclusion that this means where we get our news matters.

If all news is biased, then where we get it (as long as it is factual) does not matter.

What really matters is whether we are able to understaned the bias held by any particular news medium.

One thing about the changes in the industry that does matter, in my opinion, is the tendency toward shoestring budgets and cuts in news staff.  We can live with biased news, but if news organizations cut too much staff, there won't be any news at all (or not enough).  That's a much bigger problem.

Another thing is that I would say that any medium that we read is better than any medium that we watch.  TV news is going to be more biased towards events with exciting visuals than newspapers, magazines, or websites.

Overall, I'd say that ideological bias doesn't matter as long as we're aware of it.  Bias towards exciting stuff (as well as cuts in staff) do matter because they reduce the overall quantity of news that is available.

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booksnmore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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If you want your news to be accurate it does. :)

Some news venues are blatantly biased. Others, are perhaps not so obviously biased, but definitely show the influence of pressure from advertisers, the audience, the owners.. Any news bias, when presented as "fact" has the potential to sway huge groups of people...which has the potential to be dangerous. But even the unbiased sources may increase or lessen the importance of an event, depending on how it is presented.

Consider the past ban on casket photos for American war dead. How has the lift on that ban influenced news? (Or has it?) How are you personally influenced by choosing to use news sources that do (or don't) use these photos?

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ask996 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Newspapers, the source of print journalism, were originally called the fourth estate, but this term has grown to embrace more contemporary sources of news as well such as the internet, televisions, podcasts, and etc. Along with more sources of the news, comes news that might have a tendency to be warped in order to meet certain needs such as subscription sales, espousing personal or political agendas of the publishers, owners, writers, and etc., so yes it does matter from where we get our news.

Our news should come from reputable, relatively unbiased sources who adamantly check their sources and stories for veracity. 

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acompanioninthetardis | Student

Yes in fact it is very important where we get our news. Some news areas tend to give explosive and often misleading headlines, or in some cases just false information. I remember as a kid in 2008, reading about a project that scientists were working on and if it had succeeded then they would have created a time machine and if not then the world would have exploded...and of course finding this out as a kid i couldn't wait to tell my friends since the projects results were going to come out that year and we lived in fear/ excitement about that until we forgot about it. So yeah where we get the information is very important and sometimes mass media alters the truth to get our attention, so in the end i feel like its up to us to dig in a little more and find out what the truth of the matter is before we go on and talk about it or share the information with others. 

krishna-agrawala | Student

The source of publishing or releasing news has substantial influence on the kind of events and happenings covered as well as the quality of coverage. The quality of coverage has many different aspects such as:

  1. Level of detail given.
  2. How fresh or stale the news is.
  3. Extent of bias in reporting. It is worthwhile noting that bias of source is also reflected in the selection of coverage.
  4. Being sensitive to impact of reporting on public law, order, and morality.
  5. Reliability and correctness of the news.
  6. Quality of presentation of the news. This will include aspect like clarity and readability of language, and freedom from errors.
honglena81 | Student

It definitely matters where we get our news, but probably not for the reasons most people think. It only matters from our own particular perspective. As a teacher, we expect news to be credible and sourced with citations, and to have gone through an editing process resulting in viable, reasonable, and truthful news. As a student, personally, the truth might not necessarily matter. As adolescents, they deal primarily with gossip, innuendo and information which is not accurate. But for many reasons, they might not the the information that they want; it all depends on their perspective. As teachers, it is our job to change the students' perspective to one that is viable, reasonable, and accurate. One just has to visit a store and look at all the tabloid newspapers and magazines that print inaccurate and misleading information. But from their perspective, it might seem accurate and truthful. So in the end, it all depends on one's perspective. But as teachers we should expect the information to be reliable and honest. Sometimes, that is not always the case.