Students and faculty in the science departments at the University of Oregon share mixed views on the credibility of news.
Eighty percent of those interviewed get news from popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, while seventy percent said they read newspapers in print and watch the news on television. Between these sources, only thirty percent of interviewees believe that stories got all the facts correct.
“It is completely dependent upon the source and presented information, so you must always be skeptical,” sophomore human physiology major Hayden Meriwether said.
Those interviewed read the Oregon Daily Emerald, the New York Times, the Denver Post, and the Eugene Register Guard. The Oregon Daily Emerald was the most popular, pulling in forty percent of the readers. Thirty percent said they did not read any newspaper print source at all.
When comparing the Oregon Daily Emerald to the Eugene Register Guard, sophomore business major Casey Ronquillo said, “Both papers are biased, because the Eugene Register Guard will take the police’s side and the Oregon Daily Emerald will take the student’s side. The Register Guard is probably more relevant to local news, so it is probably a bit more reliable.”
Seventy percent interviewed watch television news shows ranging from NBC to CNN to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Mary Baxter, professor of geology at the University of Oregon, said, “Shows like Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Daily Show and so forth are not news at all; they’re just entertainment.” Baxter said that local stations were less objective and straight forward, while popular nationalized shows added too much extra entertainment to their broadcast.
Fifty percent of people interviewed said that Matt Lauer and Ann Curry from The Today Show were authentic journalists. Only thirty percent said that Jon Stewert from The Daily Show and Rachel Maddow from The Rachel Maddow Show were true journalists.
“I don’t know who Rachel Maddow is, but the rest are all journalists in their own way, because they report the news, current events, and political issues,” Junior sociology major Taylor Blyth said.
Twenty percent of interviewees said that the media are biased in favor of conservatives liberals. The remaining forty percent said that the media are biased in favor of other groups. “It depends on the media source. Some media are very liberal and biased, while others are more conservative,” Meriwether said.