End the rumors: Find ways to keep up with the new on your own

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nytimes.com

Pictured above are the digital versions of The New York Times.

Mari Mirasol, Features Editor

Nowadays, news can travel across the globe in an instant. Whether it’s an oil spill, the death of a famous author, a US-backed raid taking place in Syria, or a failed peace negotiation, people can find out about it faster than ever before.  Keeping up with the news means being aware of your surroundings and taking the time to think about other people across the globe.

Recently, a huge amount of the media’s attention has been placed on the Trump presidency.

“Especially with all the changes that are happening today, I think it is important to read the news. I like being informed, and keeping up with the news is the most reliable way to do it,” said junior Lucy Hurt.

Reliable news sources, however, can be hard to find.  Years ago, when there were no smartphones to instantly look up information, newspapers or television newscasts were the only ways to remain informed.  Not having quick access to Google, it was harder to fact check information; however, this problem still persists today.

When it comes to politics, a problem with finding reputable news sources can be bias in news reporting.  Checking articles from different news sources with different political reputations can avoid confusion over the news.

“I try to read unbiased news sources, and then form my own opinions. When I read an article leaning towards a specific point of view, I look for an opposing article for perspective,” said junior Idell Rutman.

Nowadays, more and more people get their news from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook as opposed to watching the news reports on television. A 2016 study done by Pew Research found that about 6 in 10 Americans get their news from social media.

“Most of the time, I find out about different events from accounts I follow on Facebook like NowThis, CNN, the Port Washington Patch and the New York Times.  I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch the six o’clock news,” said junior Julia Kim.

This practice opens up the floor for sharing news much more easily, but it again brings up the issue of spreading irreputable sources.  A lot of the time, links that pop up on Facebook or Twitter have surprising eye-catching headlines that will fool readers if they aren’t fact-checked.  Much like tabloids in print, online articles can be easily written for the sake of gaining attention.  If a link from a known gossip website pops up, it would be a safer bet to check if the facts are correct by looking up another article.

Despite its problems, social media has made it easier for people, particularly teens, to access news.

“I like how a lot of social networking apps try to broadcast the news to users. Even Snapchat has Discover, where you can read stories from a variety of magazines or news outlets.  You could also see events happening live like the Women’s March,” said junior Davida Harris.

Another method of staying up to date is watching clips on YouTube.  Many talk shows are posted online that feature commentators discussing the day’s or week’s events.  Late Night with Seth Meyers, This Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert are a few of the shows available for streaming on YouTube.  This is a more entertaining way of hearing about the news, but it is typically a lot more biased.

To avoid the bias, you can use YouTube to access the footage of the events for yourself. Recently, videos of press conferences held by Sean Spicer, interviews with Kellyanne Conway, and the hearings for the nominated secretaries are up on YouTube.  Many television networks like NBC or Fox have their own YouTube channels, where they live stream these events.

“Especially to avoid bias or inaccurate reporting, it’s important to go straight to the source, and YouTube let’s you do just that,” said junior Sarah Gottesman.

The best way to keep up with the news while avoiding fake stories is to download a few news apps on your phone.  The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a news app that covers news in the Middle East, China, Latin America, Europe and the United States.  It allows you to turn on notifications and adjust them to your preference.  You could choose to receive alerts for a specific topic such as technology or business, a region such as the Middle East, a current event like the French presidential election, or simply for breaking news.  Other applications like this are CNN, NPR News, NBC News, and Fox News.

Smartphones also allow you to subscribe to newspapers like The New York Times, The Associated Press, and The Wall Street Journal.  You can receive notifications and gain access to all their news coverage and articles straight from your phone.  A lot of the time, reporters will give live updates on a developing story by adding either video content or uploading new articles as things change. If you follow these newspapers on social media, you could get links to these stories as well, but be careful with believing the first tweet or post you read.

“I have the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal apps. I really like them because they are such an easy way to get quality news.  My dad gets the actual paper, and the app gives all of the same articles so it’s a great resource,” said junior Saige Gitlin.  “It’s important to keep up with the news because it is our duty as citizens to be involved and advocate for ourselves.  If we are ignorant to the world around us, then we won’t know when we need to act or help others.”