It’s undeniably true that technology impacts every profession and aspect of our society. Heavy-duty machines have replaced manual field labor in order to fuel our harsh agricultural demand. Robotic arms and technologically advanced machines are eliminating jobs for the working class. With the advancement of technology, professions such as journalism have become completely reliant on media in order to convey stories. As a result, one question persists: Has technological influence on journalism changed it for better or for worse?
As a result of the utilization of media, stories and articles have become more accessible than previously. A profession that used to be reliant on newspapers to convey stories has morphed into using websites that can be accessed from smartphones, computers, and even smartwatches. The technology in order to capture and create content has also tremendously impacted journalism. Stories are able to be published worldwide in a matter of seconds with the utilization of the internet. Television has the potential to broadcast digital media within minutes. Equipment used to record and publish content has thoroughly progressed, with digital cameras, mobile applications, smartphones, and most importantly, social media, all making a splash in journalism. However, the utilization of such tools doesn’t explicitly create a positive impact.
Content published on the internet has a very large potential of being manipulated and is able to be edited with more ease than a traditional hard-copy newspaper. There have been multiple scenarios in which a false news story gains an extensive amount of publicity, reaching the point in which the public believes it. Anyone has the potential to write a news story due to the accessibility of the media over technology, regardless of their credibility. One recent example was a rumor about the Las Vegas shooter, that he was “previously linked to the Islamic state”, that unfortunately gained traction despite being incredibly incorrect. Censorship of the media is also present in countries such as China, where the government controls a majority of technology. Specific websites are blocked, and media outlets are censored if the government thinks that they are giving off bad press. As a result, technology not only results in “fake news”, but it’s significantly easier to censor the media.
“I think, to a certain extent, [technology] is very useful,” sophomore Sarah Hensler told MVMedia. “It gives you a chance to hear about things as soon as they happen – it is the fastest news. There’s no waiting three days for the next paper to come out. However, the faster it gets, the more detrimental it gets. Speed isn’t equivalent to quality.” When asked a similar question, senior Gabe Bernard replied, “Because there are so many news sources on social media, such as Twitter, as long as something as well-versed and reported well people can fall for [fake news] and automatically assume it’s real. They don’t even know it’s fake, but they’re still spreading it to other people.”
As a result of the advancement of technology, the media is more accessible and manipulative than ever due to the use of social media and the advancement of the internet. Stories are able to be published almost instantaneously and can be viewed by everyone with either a computer or a cell phone. However, as the media becomes more dependent on technology, stories have the potential to receive a bias or be manipulated easier than previously. The question of our media still persists: Has technological influence on journalism changed it for the better or the worse? I believe that there’s no definite answer, but rather the presence of a middle-ground between beneficial and harmful. Hopefully, bias in journalism won’t exist, but realistically, that’s a reality very far away.