What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you listening to?
Answers to these questions seem limitless when you consider the average person encounters upwards of 10,000 news headlines per day, some of them factual and others that live in the fictional realm.
You can thank the Internet and the ever-growing list of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok for the deluge of information. Over the past 20 years, online and digital news and marketing has grown exponentially and shows no sign of slowing down.
The challenge is deciphering what is legitimate news and what is a piece where facts haven’t gotten in the way of a good story.
We need to be more discriminating consumers of news. We need to consider who are the sources of information.
Like any good investment portfolio that is diversified, our news consumption should look for the same objective – some diversity. One way of bringing a bit of balance into your news and information world is to step outside of our comfort zone to take a look at the viewpoint that we don’t necessarily share to see what is being said and talked about on the other side of the fence.
Reading a story that doesn’t align with our ideology doesn’t classify it as fake. Perhaps difficult to accept, we should consider it enlightening.
This way of thinking has led to more of a distrust in our mainstream media, where there has always been a challenge of being objective, especially in a world with cable news which tends to pick a side in order to attract an audience.
News organizations, journalists and commentators who become slanted in one direction will eventually narrow their own audience. Sometimes the more generic a news outlet becomes – delivering just the facts, with no colour or opinion – presents an opportunity to attract a broader range of followers. The flipside is those followers likely are docile.
Traditional media sources are struggling to remain relevant in an environment of fragmentation enhanced by the Internet which makes it possible for start-ups to flourish because they aren’t burdened with the cost of a $10-million printing press. Economics makes it possible to easily open up an alternative news source, but it can also deliver more polarized, siloed content.