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Monday, June 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Open source news

We interrupt your usual program of Oh my god, I'm a middle class college student with a test to study for and there's blood in my mucus for something else, something slightly worthwhile.


Perhaps the single most important and most influential device of my generation is the Internet. We use it for an almost obscene amount of time doing almost everything, from checking e-mail to taking care of some virtual farmland to sending money for a needy Nigerian prince to proving Thebat420 wrong that Batman could beat the Hulk in a carefully worded essay that sounds more articulate than your papers due the next morning.


Yeah. We do a lot.


The Internet is marvelous and at times, a weird place. One can only be in awe in all of its magnificent digital glory. In this day and age of hyper speed information distribution it is easy to forget one simple thing. People are stupid.


I mean really stupid.


The great thing about the Internet is the large expansion of everyone's favorite amendment, freedom of speech. Twitter, Wikipedia, and a gratuitous amount of blogs littered the web, giving every person who logs on a voice.


Unrestricted and unlimited freedom of speech is a wondrous thing. The worst thing that could happen is if someone got an iron grip on it and filtered whatever they don't want. The Internet will hopefully remain as open and free forever.


Although the freedom of the Internet is no doubt a great thing, it is a double-edged sword. The Youtube and IMDB comment section often turn into a hive of hate and racism, rumors of D-list celebrities' death (poor Sinbad) plagues the masses and looking up George Washington on Wikipedia has resulted with someone deciding that he is a master of Muay Thai.


Germinating from this cyber wasteland is what many perceive as the new generation of the news. A digital distribution of information headed not by single entities but by the masses of the free. News by the people, for the people.


Many of those who have fully embraced this call it the harbinger of the death of the old media, the printed word. Of course, I find this ridiculous. Why would you trust the Internet?


Sure, there are the right-minded and actual intelligent people on the Web who are able to do the right thing, but the hundreds upon hundreds of other idiotic voices drown them out. If Twitter and blogs are the future of news, I'm worried.


With print, these institutions have restrictions, rules and ethics that are particularly non-existent on the web. The Internet is filled with bias, false information and just flat out stupidity. That's not that the newspaper doesn't share the same amount of mistakes but of course, error is going to occur. That is impossible to avoid.


'But Mr. Fascist Newspaper Man,' you say, 'shouldn't I have voice? Why should the flow of information but restricted to a few exclusive organizations?'


Well, you are right, hypothetical person number one. You have every right to voice whatever information or enlightenment you have. The problem is when people completely disregard the traditional source for one that is completely chaotic.


The traditional source, though, cannot survive without evolving. Some front-runners of print are unwilling to accept the coming changes of news. It is an unstoppable force and those that that do not adapt will fail.


A combination of the rapid and unlimited power of the Internet and the ethical side of the old could create a superpower of media distribution. It is a necessity to weed out the idiotic and chaotic nature of the Internet. That is the major obstacle.


The future of news is upon us. Hopefully, it isn't the same mess it is today.


At least it isn't cable news. There's no saving that.



E-mail: eric.hilliker@ubspectrum.com



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