Meg Dedyne

Digital news: change doesn’t have to be scary

By Meg Dedyne

Digital news is an aspect of media I have been interested in for some time. As I am interested in pursuing digital media interests in the public relations world, I am also fascinated with how the digital news landscape is changing and evolving, especially with my generation and generations to come.

I once had a mentor tell me that her biggest pet peeve during interviews for intern candidates was usually when she asked the candidates where they get their source of news and they responded, “social media.” From that point on, I have always strayed away from using that statement in an interview and even tried to broaden my sources of digital news. After reading this article from the Pew Research Center, I realized that the fact of the matter is, obtaining our news from social media or technology platforms is common, inevitable and not always a bad thing.

The research states that 38 percent of U.S. adults go to digital sources to receive their news, which is just behind television news. This challenged my original thought of digital news sources, including apps and social networking sites. As I had stated previously, I was under the impression that using digital news as your main source of media coverage, was something people frowned upon. Reading that many Americans get their news this way, not only surprised me, but also made me come to a realization. As future professionals influencing the media, we need to be that much more conscious of the credibility and accuracy of the information people are getting through digital news.

It wasn’t a surprise to me that 65 percent of U.S. adults said they learned about the 2016 presidential election news from digital sources. In a campaigns class I took this past fall, we analyzed the difference between the role of social and digital media in the 2016 election, compared to the 2012 election. Just using digital media during election season personally, I noticed the different tactics used by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton before the election. There were digital ads, fundraising pleas and fact checking tweets used on social and digital media. I came to the realization that as journalists, writers and public relations professionals, it’s now more important than ever to make sure the digital news we are producing is an accurate and credible source for our audiences.

Photo: Olivia Weber; Meg Dedyne at the NAFSA conference.

The article speaks a bit to audiences, specifically regarding mobile audiences. Something I have learned in the past few years, is that different groups of people respond differently to digital news. Last May, I was fortunate enough to attend the NAFSA: Association of International Educators annual conference in Denver. I learned a lot about which social and digital media platforms interested the international audience. This conference came to mind while reading this article. It’s just as important to make sure digital news, that can help a group of people, is getting to the right audience as it is making sure the digital news produced is trustworthy.

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