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Opinion: Journalism in the age of Trump

Graphic by Anastasia Rooke

Journalism is barely surviving in this post-apocalyptic media world. When President Trump called the media “the enemy of the people,” journalists’ credibility and achievements in revealing truth practically vanished into a wasteland of dust.

Now, all articles are questioned, and facts have lost their meaning. It is as if we are living in George Orwell’s “1984,” and truth is at the mercy of those who can fabricate it.

Journalists have always had the reputation of being hungry for information. They are relentless, heartless creatures looking for leads to stories, buttons to press, and people to prod. Today, many people lump paparazzi and journalists into a bag called “media” and think that they are equal. They are not.

Journalism should always be viewed as completely separate from the tabloids you glance at while you are in line at the grocery store. However, the age of fake news has heightened a sense of panic and distrust in reportings.

While I am saddened that we have reached this point, I am glad that people are now more inclined to check facts. 

A few years ago, someone may read an article, accept it as truth, and absorb it into the cloud of opinions in their head. Today, we are more skeptical, for better or for worse. With the threat of fake news, it seems we are all thinking more on our own.

Since the invention of yellow journalism, which is journalism based on extreme exaggeration, in the 1890s, certain news sources have built their brands around drama and hyperbole. 

Some, like The Huffington Post, use “click-bait” titles in order to reel the reader into the story. Television news tends to be more sensationalized than text because its motive is to entertain the viewer. It is important to be wary of over-the-top scriptwriting and graphics.

Please, do not be my grandfather who strictly watches Fox News and nothing else for hours on end. I cannot stress enough the cruciality of comparing various news sources. 

Throw some MSNBC into your mix; some CNN; some ABC. The more you inform yourself using different news sources, the better equipped you are for molding your own opinion. The goal of journalism is to inform you, the consumer, so that you can make your own educated decisions. 

For example, this opinion piece you are reading is not meant to brainwash you into thinking what I think you should. It is meant to encourage your own thoughts and stimulate your own hunt for information.

So, how has Fake News affected student media? I think that it has made the student body more skeptical of the news they read, especially since the events they read about affect them on a personal level. 

However, the student body is so hungry for information about what is going on at Rollins that they absorb any information they can—whether it be by word of mouth, social media, or The Sandspur

Students crave to know what is going on; they are hungry for the details behind things like investigations, construction, politics, sports, and entertainment. Colleges are not like today’s media world in which several news sources can be cross-examined. 

Student media, therefore, tends to be believed; otherwise, students would not trust any information about the school. Journalism is incredibly important on campus as a result and should be taken seriously.  

The solution to fake news is to be aware of sensationalism and to compare news sources. The threat of factuality is not going to go away any time soon, so, for now, consumers have the responsibility of gathering information for themselves. 

I ask you to remember that the goals of journalism are to reveal information to the public and to provide facts for consumers to digest. Not all news sources will hold to these goals, so it is up to you to decide which ones do.

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