I don’t watch the news…

Usually, when I want to know what’s going on in the world I open Twitter to get an overview over the most important events that people are talking about. Then I move on to look for articles online on certain issues that I want to know more about — for example on news websites like nytimes.com , BBC News or blog posts on websites like foreignpolicy.com.

With twitter, blogs or other sources for news on the internet you can actually access all the relevant (and irrelevant) information on an issue and use as much as you need to form an opinion, instead of just being presented with topics that others consider as what you should know about. Of course everything is subjective. But through social media you have access to pretty much all the opinions one could have about an issue. If something is covered on the news on TV and you solely rely on that as your source of information, you only get to know what they decide to present you.

A good example is the reporting on the events in Ferguson in summer 2014. I originally found out about this on twitter. And there I had people actually being there right in that moment telling me what they were doing and what was happening by posting pictures and videos every minute, even doing livestreams. I then tried to talk to my family about these events, but they had not even found out about it yet. I was shocked to not see it on the news that evening (which I actually watched for once, because maybe somehow I’d feel like it is actually a really big thing when it’s on the news — but it wasn’t). The first time I heard about it on the news was a few days later. And I was pretty shocked. How could this not be the number one news topic? Even in the US the news coverage of the events only started two days later and compared to Twitter it was still very shallow and slow.

news coverage in the USA compared to number of posts on Twitter

In my opinion, news on TV like the “Tagesschau” might be a good summary of what has happened during the day, but they are, in my opinion, nowhere near enough to keep yourself properly informed. And I think we should stay informed about what happens in the world and develop a critical opinion about it — after all it always affects us and shapes our lives in some way.