Social Media as a news source for students

The Prairie Opinion. Art by Chris Brockman.

The Prairie Opinion. Art by Chris Brockman.

As college students, social media is a key component to everyday life. Most check social media accounts before bed and first thing in the morning as well as periodically throughout the day. As social media has grown more popular, businesses and news sources have adapted to this change. Breaking news can now be found in 140 characters on Twitter or a link on Facebook.

Many college students can be found verifying stories either relevant to the real world or just campus gossip,  and the common source is Twitter or Facebook. Social media is a viral form of communication and is quickly gaining ground in younger generations. Mass communication and communication students are even required to take a course on social media before graduating from the department and entering the career world. There are now social media jobs being offered in the business world, because social is such a powerful tool.

As a student run news organization, we understand the necessity of social media and emphasize online interaction and publication. We see how college students are consumed and addicted by social media and use this as a way to connect to them.

As social media grows, the question arises as to whether these sites can be an accredited place for news. Some may find that social media can be sloppy and that some news sources use it as a way to break the story first rather than fact checking and reporting accurately.  Since character space is limited on these sites, news sources have to be more careful about wording and how to most effectively state what is happening during a breaking news period.

Social media can be a helpful tool for news sources. It can be a place to promote works and a way to quickly reach the public. In a crisis situation, news sources can use social media to gain insight from those being affected and use this as viable communication tool.

Social media is also a great way for news sources to have an interactive experience with their readers. Some publications, like the Amarillo Globe- News, are placing comments from online interactions in their print editions. This encourages users and subscribers to have their reactions to stories viewed by the public.

There is this skepticism among college students these days where everyone has to find out for themselves if a story is real. Because social media is becoming such a strong voice among younger generations, college students have found themselves checking out multiple sources to figure out if a story is true or not. This may mean seeing how many people have posted the same content to Twitter or if a common complaint is being made on Facebook, but there is, indeed, a sense of fact checking in the online world.

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