Social structure: UB students discuss where they get their election news
College students are now less likely to pick up a physical newspaper than ever before.
In a recent Spectrum survey, 222 students were polled and asked where they receive their news. Almost all students receive their news from a mobile app. While CNN is the most popular news source among students, Facebook and Twitter are second and third respectively, above The New York Times and The Buffalo News.
Even though there are copies of newspapers on campus including USA Today and The New York Times,many students tend to stick to social media since it’s easily accessible on their cell phones.
Jerry Mckeone, a junior mechanical engineering major, thinks newspapers are on their way out of the scene since periodicals offer online versions for tablets and smartphones.
“I haven’t read a physical newspaper in a really long time,” Mckeone said. “I tend to watch the local news but I still get most of my news from social media.”
Mckeone said he finds it hard to sift through all the posts on his feed to find the most accurate news for his political views.
“The news online is extreme, Mckeone said. “It’s hard to believe that some people take those articles word for word without knowing if it’s even true or not. The number of unprofessional blogs and YouTube videos out there is scary.”
Other students agree with Mckeon and feel Facebook and Twitter aren’t always the most reliable sources.
Halle Datko, a junior sociology and psychology major, said she noticed news articles are generally biased to some level on social media sites.
“I see most of my news scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter feeds,” Datko said. “It's generally a lot of sarcasm and hating on candidates for certain things they’ve said. A lot of the time it’s only a small portion of what the candidate actually said, so we get a distorted account of what actually happened.”
When she wants to read more on a certain issue she sees on Facebook, Datko said she then goes to The New York Times for more information.
“I’ll see something that piques my interest on Facebook and look further on an actual news website,” Datko said. “To me it’s really important that I read nonpartisan information since the presidential election is so important.”
Other students who aren’t interested in campaign drama have been avoiding the news entirely to keep from getting caught up in political arguments and negativity.
Evan Miller, a sophomore marketing major, argues that by not reading or falling victim to clickbait articles on popular social media sites, he’s kept his mind clearer and is more confident in his vote.
“I don’t really look at the news. I don’t want to see all this bullsh*t about the election,” Miller said. “My parents watch the news every night but even that can be biased, so I tend to just stay as far away from it as I can.”
Miller still plans on voting, but believes he knows enough about each candidate to place an educated vote.
“I’m definitely voting,” he said. “I don’t use social media too often to begin with and when I do use it, I really just hate seeing all the annoying videos on my feed.”
Major news networks’ accounts on social media do post highlights from major events along the campaign trail, but are sometimes overshadowed by satire videos and montages of candidates’ comical moments.
Ayenoumou Barry, a sophomore sociology major, said she follows major news networks on Instagram. When they post pictures of news headlines, she goes right to the source and skips over third-party videos and blog posts on social network sites.
“I’ll scroll through my Instagram feed and see a really interesting headline, then I’ll go to that website to read the full article,” Barry said. “It’s where I get a lot of my news. I just don’t have time to read the paper every day. I want to get a quick synopsis of what happened without reading a long article.”
Max Kalnitz is the senior arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org