Large Facebook and Twitter Membership Creates Accessible News Distribution

By Bri Amaranthus

Students, professors, and employees in the science departments at University of Oregon spend almost three times the amount of time online each day than reading print, yet are still skeptical of news accuracy.

Individuals contacted in a recent survey said they spent an average of three and a half hours a day on the Internet, and about one and a quarter hours reading print. Out of ten people surveyed, eight have Facebook accounts, and six have Twitter accounts. More than half said they receive news from the Internet, specifically from  social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“I like getting my news from Twitter, it is really convenient because it is so much faster then having to wait around to read it in the paper or somewhere else,” sophomore geology major Sarah Murray said.

According to Twitter’s information website,  eleven accounts are created every second, and users send over 175 million tweets a day. News sources are capitalizing on this fast paced information sharing by distributing the news via tweets. CNN is followed on Twitter by over four million people, and the New York Times is followed by almost five million.

When online, the majority of those surveyed spent their time on the news sites CNN and MSN. Forty percent got their news from CNN, and thirty percent from MSN.

Correspondents were skeptical of accuracy and subjectivity of news stories.  “It is completely dependent upon the source and presented information, so you must always be skeptical,” human physiology major Hayden Meriwether said.

Regardless of what medium respondents choose to get their news,  thirty percent said they believed that news stories usually get the facts right. The other seventy percent were skeptical of trusting news sources.

Sophomore Megan Duling said that she would trust a news story that came from people whose views are closer to hers, such as students at the Daily Emerald.

Geology professor Mary Baxter argued that a lot of news mediums don’t focus enough on what is going on in the world. She said that shows such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The Daily Show are “just entertainment.”

Thirty percent believed Jon Stuart of The Daily Show to be considered a journalist.

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