OPINION: Ensuring Media Accountability in the Digital Age

Story by Jordan Mcgee
Feature Photo via Flickr

The term “fake news” is defined as “a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically”.

If one does not read much into where their information is coming from, they tend to believe what is fed to them. It is not difficult to differentiate fake news from real news if sources are valid and facts are double-checked.

It seems that this day in age that most individuals are receiving their news through Twitter, blogs, or other types of bias sources, where anyone can churn out their opinion onto the internet.

It is up to the reader of that Twitter post to decide if they are going to believe that bias or put effort into fact-checking the information. It all comes down to the effort of the reader. We cannot blame “the media” for doing their job, but we can do our part to shape the media.

What is put out by the media is merely what will make the most money. Obviously, this “fake news” fad is making money through the simplicity of individuals who believe it, as well as individuals who see it as entertainment.

For example, The Daily Caller published an article regarding Trump’s EPA granting Flint $100 million to fix their broken water system, when this was actually approved by Obama in December. However, the headline says otherwise.

Another factor in the publishing of fake news is the lack of individuals who are willing to pay for their news. This ultimately creates a divide between genuine sources and sources that are nonfactual, but are cheap to produce and are for entertainment purposes for the simple mind.

Speaking of individuals who feel they cannot trust their news sources, they probably are not fully aware but can recognize the excessive use of native advertising and sponsor content. 

In this kind of technique, online publishers are able to sneak advertising into stories themselves. If the readers do not read carefully enough to notice that the piece is subtly sponsored, they will not be able to properly distinguish genuine news.

I was told that I was the Democratic version of Tomi Lahren because of the fact I become almost angry when discussing issues that I am passionate about.

However, I do not ever advocate outright insulting people like Lahren does on her “final thoughts” show.

News should be presented unbiased and allow for other parties to participate. This does not really come to mind when one has strong opinions on current issues, but this is the professional route to go to save modern journalism from the “fake news” complaints posed by President Donald Trump.

While I never outright demonstrated an interest in journalism before my senior year of high school, I had a keen interest in writing and informing from a young age.


My first thought was that I would be able to participate in the news in some way when I was older. A young ambitious journalist, I understood the difference between toxic and helpful opinions.

I believe that opinions must be educational and informative if they are going to make their way into the news world.

I believe that journalism deserves educational opinions that will better the lives of their readers. The constant criticism of “the media” by Trump is frankly quite ignorant. He is aware of how to reach his platform through Twitter, which resembles the attention span of a middle-school-aged-child. This kind of attention to fake news is hindering those of us who actually care about putting influential pieces out in the media.

I believe that journalism has since lost its ability to be credible with individuals simply becoming lazy and getting their news through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Entering college as a journalism major is accompanied by the ambition and drive to change the world. I wish to produce newsworthy pieces in the midst of “fake news” and criticism of the media by society. I am a journalism major because I believe that as a platform, we must move with the times in order to engage our readers.

Frankly, this fad will never leave the public eye. However, as informed citizens, we can fact check the information we seek out. We can look at all aspects of an opinion and analyze it through credited sources.

The world needs to see more ambitious individuals who will not let information become mindlessly fed to them. These are individuals who will not just simply stop at a headline and make assumptions about something that they do not know enough about.

We must question everything published in the media and use our skills to identify credible sources.