Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

The News Staff Views: Taking on a new role

Hello, as this is the first issue of Northern Wyoming News I have ever contributed to, I would like to offer a short introduction of who I am and what I hope to bring to our readers.

My family and I are from Greybull, and I spent a lot of my time as a teenager contributing to the Greybull Standard, mostly pictures and short articles about the goings-on of Greybull High School, from which I graduated in 2019, and Greybull Rec Center events. I was the yearbook geek and will be eternally grateful to my advisor for convincing me that there are still careers in the news and that I deserved one of them.

I am now on my third year of a photojournalism degree at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, and I am incredibly excited to be the Northern Wyoming News’ student intern this summer. I hope to learn more about this community in our short time together before I am back to school.

As a part of my studies this semester, I was asked to survey citizens of various ages, genders and ethnicities in an attempt to show what the public’s opinion of news media is. The class results showed consensus that the news is viewed as unreliable, politicized, and increasingly focused on entertainment rather than serving as an informational service. People were suspicious of images and video being altered to show a false reality. They worried that journalists were owned by corporations that only cared about growing their audience. Statements such as “it is hard to look at the news” and “the news doesn’t show the whole picture, they only show what that network wants” were terrifyingly common.

While this is disheartening as a student looking to break into the field, I find it comforting to know that readers are in constant search for the truth despite the “fake news” constantly being thrown at them by social media, and unfortunately in some cases, major news organizations. Misinformation, misrepresentation, and manipulations are being passed off as news, and that is scary both for consumers and the organizations trying to present honest information.

As someone learning about and trying to be a part of the press, I can see both sides of the situation, and I believe that to fix this broken system, responsibility falls on two groups. Readers and viewers should consider information skeptically, check sources, and hold their media accountable. In the age of the citizen journalist, social media plays a huge part. Be sure you’re not spreading false information before you hit “share.”

The media needs to clean up its act too, making sure that independent journalism remains truly independent and striving to provide the public with relevant information instead of dramatizations and politicizations meant to garner more views. As the fourth estate, journalism is supposed to serve as a check on government power. It is supposed to be the symbolic fourth branch, a watch dog for the public. If viewers cannot trust their news media, how are they supposed to trust anything?

Our news is supposed to provide information that is beneficial to the greater good, and starting with local newspapers such as NWN that strive to build a connection with their community and branching outward to rebuild the trust between national news organizations and their viewers is essential to respecting the fourth estate aspect of journalism.

Hopefully by the time I am past the interning part of my career, the trust between Americans and their news media will be rebuilt and maybe I will try that survey again. The news is for the people, and I am excited to start my contributions to this organization and your community.

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