Author: Heidi Hudson
News is all around us— embedded in the way we think and the media we consume. The world is constantly changing, but there is an endless stream of resources with the ability to keep people informed on what is going on. In the past two decades, news consumption has shifted from physical papers to digital sources.
According to a Pew Research study conducted in 2021, 48% of polled adults said they often or sometimes get their news from social media sites, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In 2020, this statistic was 53% of adults. While this statistic was already shrinking at the time, it is still evident that a large percentage of American adults consume news in the form of social media platforms, but all of this may be changing.
In recent weeks and months, tech companies have made increasing changes to their news correspondence teams. In January, about 6% of Google’s workforce was laid off. In April, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he had plans to terminate 10,000 employees. According to a recent New York Times article, some of these Google employees were members of Google’s news teams. The article reads, “The news partnership team was established to forge agreements with publishers and partnerships, and over time it introduced programs to train newsrooms, support the development of news products and respond to governments around the world that have pressed Google to share more revenue with news organizations”.
If Google is decreasing the size of news correspondent teams, what are their next steps? With increased focus on AI, Google is focusing on developing AI search components that will replace where news articles once appeared as a search result. When Google’s Bard gets asked a question, it finds an immediate stream of results that news sites are worried will decrease further internet traffic.
It is not new news to say that people are harboring deep distrust for the news now more than ever. In fact, since the pandemic, fewer people are seeking out news articles and broadcasts in hopes that they can avoid the negativity and polarizing debates that are commonly associated with news consumption. Decreased news traffic will only serve to widen the gap between ignorance and intentional self-education. It is no easy task to remain informed on current events and a quest for truth is a daily practice of intention and focus.
So, how can readers become better consumers of global news? The Harvard Business Review shared a guide in 2009 that still remains true to us now. Compared with various other guides, here is a list of things to consider while consuming news:
- Approach news with a posture of skepticism. There is a lot of media at your disposal. Never stop questioning what it is feeding you.
- Verify stories. Read news from differing sources to get new angles and perspectives.
- Verify Sources. Make sure your sources are credible and don’t rely on polarized opinions for information.
Being mindful of news consumption can be difficult and now it can be more challenging to find sources without quick Google searching and social media posts. With decreased traffic to news sites, it is more important now than ever to mindfully seek out current events.
VentureBeat made with Midjourney