Everything these days is about accessibility and personalization. People, especially young people, want information handed to them, and they want the information to be relevant to them. We are bombarded with a constant stream of media, to the point where news doesn’t spark a reaction unless it directly affects us. I don’t remember a time when I could not hear about so many disasters and atrocities occurring thousands of miles away, but yet I generally don’t feel much towards these stories other than a slight twinge of empathy. How can I be completely devastated by a murder or bombing when I hear about them daily?
Journalism and newscasting has certainly changed in recent years. I am certainly not waiting to get my news from the TV at a certain hour, or from the newspaper at the beginning of the day. Instead, I am on Twitter, where I follow major news sources for a continuously updated news feed. My homepage is The Washington Post, and I have The Atlantic, BBC, Business Insider, CNN, Huffington Post, Forbes, Mashable, NPR, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and Wired (and okay, yes, The Onion) bookmarked on my web browsers so I can easily open up the current events in new tabs on Safari.
While this always-ready way of getting the news definitely has its upsides, it can feel like a bit much at times. I believe that because young people like myself have grown up in an age where we are overwhelmed by the amount of news we receive, many of us stop feeling anything towards most of the stories we hear. We don’t know how to react to journalism because we can’t sort through the sea of information that threatens to drown us.
Already, news providers are changing to make finding interesting and relevant news easier. For instance, The Washington Post recommends articles to me based on what I’ve read in the past, which is helpful in pursuing the news in politics and other areas of interest.
By joining Twitter, individual journalists, as well as the companies they work for, can directly connect with people who seek them out. As a Twitter user, I can say that the most important things in a news Tweet are that the post is very brief, the post grabs my attention, and the link to the main article is included. Using Twitter, people take the responsibility to personalize their own news feeds by following newspapers and individuals of interest.
Young people such as myself do care about the news, but we sometimes feel so overwhelmed about what is going on in the world that we become numb to it. Therefore, the future necessitates that people are able to streamline their news. There are many tools available to personalize news, but not many people know about them. For example, I have Pulse, an iPhone app that allows me to choose which news providers and which topics to follow. Using this app, it is easy to sort through the jumble of news to find stories that I care about.
It is easy for people to view the younger generations as apathetic to current events, when the truth is that we receive so much information on a daily basis that we have never learned how to process it. The future of journalism needs to focus on delivering the news in more digestible portions, or most young people will be unable to find what they want.