“The survey polled 104 youth aged 10 to 15 between October and last month” (Traditional Media Is Top News Source For Youth, Mr. Kenny Chee).
The report “Traditional Media Is Top News Source For Youth” (December 2, 2010) by Mr. Kenny Chee provides an interesting point of view into the platforms some youths make use of to remain updated on news articles or commentaries. While it is true that traditional news channels – in the form of newspapers, information magazines and television broadcasts – have their advantages, youths should not be quick to dismiss online sites and weblogs because of the purported inaccuracies, lack of objectivity et cetera. The key – for parents and educators – would be to expose students to a multitude of bulletins and perspectives online and offline, whilst simultaneously educating them to increase comprehension levels and to have the ability to discern between fact and fiction.
Online news sources, when used selectively and read in conjunction with other news forms, can provide additional insights into print articles or analyses. As traditional news mediums serve the important role of providing accurate and timely news reports – backed by a team of journalists and full-time writers – Internet expositions provide individuals with alternative and diverse viewpoints; and as a result, heighten comprehension towards issues and increase sensitivities towards national concerns. Even though the comments might be tainted by the writer’s personal biases, balancing different views in the bigger picture can empower an individual to develop a more wholesome picture on the topic at hand. Furthermore, the interactive nature of these sites can create a conducive environment for discussions and conservations between readers; thereby moving from blind absorption of facts to an atmosphere of active engagement.
Technically, the Web provides an assortment of positives that students can leverage upon. Besides the accessibility, functionality and timeliness of news information, utility and expandability comes into the picture; as students have the liberty to literally “pick and mix” varying information or opinion pieces. Analytical skills and critical faculties would be subtly enhanced through this constant process of reading and understanding.
Perhaps expanding the survey conducted by Panasonic would yield a clearer picture of how youths genuinely obtain their news; and subsequently pressure the Ministry of Education (MOE) to review its particular teaching pedagogies. Besides expanding the sample size beyond the considerably small figure of 104 youths, the results should be stratified in accordance to age groups and education backgrounds or institutions so as to develop a clearer picture of the current status quo.
To marginalise online sources or websites because of assumptions or a few rotten apples would prove to be detrimental to students. Ultimately, when it comes to news and their perceptions – regardless of their sources – students must be equipped with the important skills of interpretation, judgement and reflection.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.