By Ben Pinette
Over the last five years, it has been no secret that the way we get our news and media has certainly changed. Long gone are the days where the whole family gathers around the television set at 6:30 p.m. each night with Walter Cronkite giving us the world roundup. The way we’re getting our news is significantly different. In this day and age, it’s also about finding the truth in the different mediums that are at our fingertips.
This question and others were discussed at a journalism seminar entitled, “Information Overload: How Do You Find the Truth?” that took place on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Wieden auditorium. The public was invited to attend this free evening seminar, which featured award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Darrell Dorgan of North Dakota and local media experts Shawn Cunningham of WAGM-TV and Jen Lynds of the “Bangor Daily News.”. Mass communication and journalism professor, Dr. Jacqui Lowman, was also on the panel, moderating the seminar.
Dorgan was one of the first to speak about some of the changes media has undergone in the last one hundred years or so.
“We first had books, then the Gutenberg Press. Out of that came the telegraph, then radio, then television, and now the Internet. Media has changed,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan was quick to point out that not all talk radio is news. It’s mostly entertainment. Blogs, too, aren’t necessarily news, according to Dorgan.
Later on, Dorgan had this to say about the future of the print newspaper:
“I don’t think in 10 to 15 years we will have a daily print newspaper delivered to your door.”
Cunningham has been at local television station WAGM-TV for more than 10 years. She has witnessed the change in how people perceive media, including the use of technology.
“In television, computers have eliminated jobs. Everything is robotic here at WAGM,” Cunningham said.
According to Cunningham, at WAGM-TV, they have had to get with the times, and fast.
They’ve had to add new media such as Facebook and Twitter to their newscasts to keep up.
Jen Lynds, a reporter for the Aroostook County bureau of the “Bangor Daily News,” remembered a time when computers were not used so much.
“In 1996, at Houlton High School, we had one computer with Internet and that was in the library. Now, at my job here at the “Bangor Daily,” in the last five or six years, we’ve had to go into social media. The statistics for us are that only senior citizens are reading our paper. It’s all about web traffic now,” Lynds said.
Lynds also had a message to all future journalists that were in the audience, some of whom were in high school.
She told them not to take shortcuts, giving Dan Rather and the Killigan documents as an example of what can happen if you do.
Lynds was referring to Rather’s reports about Bush’s former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian’s memos that were forged in Rather’s 2004 report. Rather ended up retiring just months after this incident broke out in other news outlets.
Sarah Graettinger, a fourth year international studies major, was in the audience. She is also getting a professional communication minor and has been writing for the U Times for over three years.
“I think that the future for media is that the Internet is going to become more prominent, and that regular news print is going to be a thing of the past. Changes are already known, and more people get their news from blogs or Facebook than actual newsprint.… I like the changes,” Graettinger said.
Whether print newspapers and newscasts become a thing of the past, one thing will never change. The news matters and will always be there. Technology and life has also changed dramatically in the last 50 years. For good or bad, media has been with us our whole lives, and will continue to inform, reflect and educate us, no matter how or where we choose to get it.
Trackback from your site.