ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
By JACOB RAMOS
Modern multimedia journalism has improved the spread of news in the 21st century substantially, but at what cost?
In the light of recent Presidential Elections, the term “fake news” has been coined as a popular way of calling out false theories and numbers. However, the spread of false information in America is not a new phenomenon. This phenomenon is heightened by the arrival of high-speed internet being the successor to dial-up, allowing for more digital media to be distributed.
Make no mistake, the globalization and modernization of news has fulfilled its purpose to expedite the spread of information so the average consumer can access any article, video or game they want in a few clicks.
The issues at hand are the trolls, the jokesters and the flat out incorrect people of the internet.
As for the trolls and people attempting to get a laugh out of the average internet consumer, it is an acceptable practice to tell jokes and post memes in the form of false, ridiculous information that people know is definitely not true. Most users are decent human beings and know when it is time to stop. Examples of this include when celebrities or public figures die; it is rare to see jokes about them or their death flooding social media.
Of course, there is a side of news in the 21st century that may be the most gut-wrenching, god awful horrible place to inhibit.
This site is the false reporting, fake news, worst journalistic possible side of the internet.
Let’s be honest, if you owned a professional, multi media company, you would definitely want to be the first to leak a big story.
Some news outlets view not breaking the big story as a loss, but you can still report important details such as the amount of money lost, casualties that occurred or property destroyed.
This is where the stem of false media is planted.
The middle ground, if you will, is where the news outlets who could not break the big story act as vultures, picking at the remaining pieces that they know the public will bend over backwards to know.
A prime example of this was exhibited in the recent passing of Kobe Bryant.
Bryant’s death was quickly reported on by Thirty Mile Radius (TMZ). TMZ, despite exhibiting a spotty track record with celebrity news, delivered a very accurate report, explaining Kobe’s death, along with all others on the helicopter. TMZ held off on naming those others that had died, due to uncertainty over the facts of the situation.
This opened the floodgates for other news outlets to rush to find the cause of the crash, how many died and who exactly died.
While the truth did prevail eventually, a whirlwind of information circled the internet.
Some misinformation reported was surrounded around the family of Kobe Bryant, explaining that his entire family unit had perished in the accident. Others explained that it was only a 5 casualty crash, when in fact nine had died. When the final casualty amount of 9, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, had been reported, millions had been confused by the conflicting reports of multiple news outlets.
Beyond being factually incorrect and causing confusion to the public, many fail to realize the issues regarding the disrespect to the families of those directly affected by tragedies in the news. The Bryant, Altobelli, Chester and Zobayan families did not know their relatives had perished until the initial TMZ report had come out. The crash being falsely reported at first added to the limitless trauma induced by the accident.
Any fix for the situation is an extremely slippery slope, giving reasonable cause for news agencies to call out violation of the First Amendment.
Overall, false journalism is a slippery, messy slope. Many people rely on reporting the initial story as a way to provoke controversy and gain popularity to their news outlet, which explains the haste that has been seen in modern news as of late. The internet has helped modern news become a defining part of the 21st century media.
While we as a society should continue to embrace this means of communication, we must appreciate the humor, truth and overall continue to stay aware of the pitfalls potentially involved with breaking a story as soon as possible.