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The Changing Nature Of Today’s News

By Andrew Kunkel, contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – With the world of media changing so fast, it’s often difficult to see exactly what news is.

The traditional definition of news from the Oxford dictionary is “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.”

A communications professor at SUNY Oswego, Dr. Arvind Diddi has watched the trends of journalism change.

“News has changed from information to infotainment. Since the last three decades or so, news has shown a constant move from serious public affairs to more lifestyle related, health related kind of stories,” he said. “Still news has some news value present, such as whether it’s timely, what kind of impact does it have on the community or society at large.”

From the days when news was strictly in newspapers and broadcast on radio or TV, the realm of online journalism has changed the market drastically.

Anyone with a computer can start their own blog, posting anything they want about news. This raises the question, how does one know what to trust on the Internet?

Communication professor at SUNY Oswego, Gary Ritzenthaler focuses on journalism in new media and social media.

“There are some things I’m more inclined to believe. I don’t 100 percent believe everything on the Internet. So I get independent verification when five or six sources say the same thing,” said Ritzenthaler.

“When I see user generated content, I don’t doubt it but I see where it’s coming from. For example, the landing of flight 1549 in the Hudson, you couldn’t have doubted that because there was live recording put out there. But some other thing going on such a rumor or something else then you possibly wait for a credible source and not just what you see on a blog,” said Dr. Diddi.

There are many places to get news these days with a number of trusted organizations, but the majority of options are online, the professors added.

“I’m probably different from a lot of professors, in that the majority of my news comes from online sources. Primarily Twitter. It would be wrong to say I get it solely from there but it’s the first point of contact. I’ll see the tweet from a news organization I follow then I go see whatever the story is. I find what’s interesting to me then I follow it,” said Ritzenthaler.

“I’m a journalism professor, so naturally I tend to look at all different kinds of publications. I don’t stick with one. I like to study news and issues of the day and keep up with current affairs. I look at newspapers, online, TV, radio etc. If I’m reading some online sources generally I’m browsing traditional sources like CNN, New York Times, and those kinds of pages, they do a good job of fact-checking,” said Dr. Diddi.