Headlines: Me, Myself, And My Selfies

Utilization of the media for self absorbed purposes

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Justin Pineda

Prioritizing “ME”: The contrast in media usage between the two phones is evident.

Stephanie Liem

In the midst of history creating itself around us, it is important to be aware of the various events that are shaping this current generation. The salad Racine ate for lunch and new set of crop tops she bought yesterday were undoubtedly considerable candidates for today’s front page headlines. Though, it is a shame that they only placed as runner ups in the grand contest of prioritized news. Racine’s rampant spam about how the grand jury is a group of “racist bastards,” seems to be the huge trend that people are actively following at the moment. After conducting extensive research on her Facebook dashboard and skimming through featured headlines, it is apparent that Racine is by far an expert on the subject. And of course, her followers don’t forget to like her tweet for a “tbh” after she is completely done sharing her insightfulness.
Like Racine’s Twitter newsfeed, the direction of media usage is constantly fluctuating. Knowledge of current events and awareness of the world around us seems to be depleting in this generation’s group of teens. Let’s face it, the only news that most teens find relevant nowadays is news that revolves around themselves. Despite how we have so much access to the media, there seems to be a lack of interest in events that don’t revolve around one’s own self centered world. People assume that the only role the media serves to play in society is to facilitate social media. So much time is invested into Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat, yet when it comes down to actually learning about important events affecting the world, many can barely spare a minute.
According to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, teens today spend an estimated average of seven and a half hours a day consuming media: checking to see how many people liked their photo, how many visits they got on their snapchat timeline, blogging, retweeting etc… Twenty five percent of teens are reported to log into to some form of social media at least ten times per day. To me, there’s nothing wrong with that. Though, when people don’t know concrete details on an event or  person and are quick to make ignorant remarks because they think they know everything about it after scrolling past a headline on Facebook, I get slightly agitated.
Although social media does do a splendid job of sharing news widely and rapidly, people do not often take the time to read the full articles featured on these sources. After looking through headlines and the first set of sentences, many readers don’t take the time or effort to actually complete reading these stories. As a journalist myself, I’m positive that a majority of headlines do not convey the overall message of the story. This leads to misinterpretations and people gaining confidence in false truths. Reading “White police acquitted for shooting a black man” automatically leads one to believe that the grand jury is a group of racist bastards and convicted an innocent man. If people actually took the time to read, they’d be slightly more careful before taking sides so immediately.
People go on rapid spams about “racist this,” “racist that,” and complain ignorantly about topics they don’t necessarily expertise on and at the end of the day, their most recent tweet says “Like for a tbh.” How genuine could these concerns or insights have been if people are so quick to revert attention back to their self centered selves.
But see, what annoys me even more than people making baseless remarks is when they simply don’t care. They ignore the headlines and don’t bother to listen at all when their teacher is addressing these current events in class. It’s the people who think, “I don’t care because it doesn’t affect me” or “Who cares, that’s all the way in Syria.”
People have grown from reading the daily newspaper to becoming less informed individuals. It’s disheartening. I understand, it is undeniably very difficult to simply sit there and concentrate on reading about the news. It’s hard for me and even professionals because there are too many distractions that can serve as more enjoyable alternatives. Though, that doesn’t entail that we should only utilize the media to capture and share the events of our social life. Media gives us the power to gather knowledge and gain insight about events going on in our surrounding world. Although these various events may not be taking place in our neighborhoods all the time, the media enables us to make them not so foreign.
The news affects everyone’s life, even if its effects may cannot be directly observed. Keeping up with current events should be treated as more of a priority before the entire world is converted into thinking that Racine’s new selfie should be headline news.