Thursday, November 19, 2015

Who do you believe???

Kristian McPeek

For those who know don’t know the story of Chicken Little, it is about a chicken that first ruins his reputation, by ringing the town emergency bell, and everyone believes it to be a big emergency. Later on a whole fleet of aliens invade the town vaporizing everything in sight, which is actually a misunderstanding, as two of the aliens are just looking for their lost child. Chicken tries to explain this, but no one believes him as his reputation is tarnished.

This story matches up exactly with what the effects of online journalism are having on traditional media. Online journalism is all about the speed, and getting the information out as fast as you can. This has become a problem as many of the sources aren’t fully checked and the information many times turns out to be false. 

When chicken first rings the town’s emergency bell, he says that the sky is falling as a piece of the space ship has fallen from the sky and hit him in the head. Rather than trying to figure out what the piece is he goes right to ringing the bell, just like so many online journalists go right to posting their articles without checking their sources and making sure that the information that they have is legit. By posting these articles so quickly, online journalists, like the chicken, make themselves look like fools and lose their reputation when the information that they have is not fully correct.

Another problem is the spread of false information. After Chicken rings the bell, the whole town goes into a constant panic. This is something that so easily happens with on-line journalism as one false post, can be spread so fast. Lies spread much faster than the truth and news organizations play a major role in this. On-line news organizations spend much more time spreading information than they do verifying information.

A major change that on-line journalism has seemed to bring has been less critical thinking. Wanting to get the information out so fast they no longer look from an objective point of view. Just like in Chicken Little the town people automatically believed that the aliens were there to invade them, not thinking from a different point of view, is there any other reason they could possibly be visiting their town.

With on-line journalism not seeming to go away, the problem now is what to do about it. It is great to have information in such a quick fashion, but what if that information is false. With online journalism coming out with information so fast, traditional media is sometimes forced to release what turns out to be false information, to keep their viewers. 

This results in a tarnished image and sometimes even worse as what happened in the Boston Marathon bombings. When the news stations wanted to get the information out, they went with the news that was posted on-line out so fast they didn’t check to see if it was credible and ended-up spreading much false information and getting in trouble with the FBI for what the FBI states the false information could have had intended consequences on their investigation. 

Just like when chicken rang the bell, he wasn’t thinking about the tarnishing of his image or the panic of the town. If he would have stopped; made sure he had all the information and facts, maybe he wouldn’t have tarnished his reputation and he would have gotten the towns people to believe him. As with Chicken Little, the traditional news stations should have made sure that the on-line information was correct before spreading the news to everyone.

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