The way people receive news today has shifted from newspapers to smartphones, allowing access to current events at everyone’s fingertips, news editors from across the country said Wednesday.
A panel of journalists, which had about 80 people in attendance at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago for the American Society of News Editors convention, touched on issues and events including the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and the social media coverage that followed. News literacy was discussed at length due to the advancements of getting information out to the public via social media, the most prominent platform being Twitter.
“I’ve sat in a lot of classrooms, and heard students talk about news and information, and I’ve been struck by two things: very often students think that information is presented equal,” Miller said. He added that there is sometimes a generational difference with how news is interpreted.
“As they’re younger, they sometimes tend to think it’s all true … when they’re older, by the time they’re in high school, very often, they’re much more cynical and they think that it’s all driven by an agenda,” Miller said.
Miller wasn’t the only one addressing the younger generation.
“I think that voice plays a part in this as well,” said Clark Bell, journalism program director at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “Young people, especially from at-risk, low income areas, feel that their particular neighborhood communities are being covered unfairly. They’re learning about news literacy, they’re creating content, but really feel that they’re not enraged, that their voice is not being heard.”
The McCormick Foundation, which was created to help develop citizen leaders and work to make life better in communities, joined with the News Literacy Project, a new national educational program that teaches students in middle school and high school how to know what to believe in the digital age.
Journalism educators at the conference stressed that although the medium is changing, journalism standards must be maintained.