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Appreciating the Advantages of the News

Physical newspapers are dying out and “cell phone journalism” is becoming more popular. However, true journalism is still as important as ever. Nowadays, people are truly blessed with a wealth of timely factual information, yet not everyone appreciates it for what it is.

Allie Pruett, a journalism major, reads a traditional printed newspaper. In the last two years, since the pandemic, physical circulation of papers has fallen to a third of its pre-pandemic circulation with some organizations losing as much as 26%, according to the Press Gazette. Meanwhile, news websites, such as The New York Times’ site, have increased up to 55% with 458.7 million in July of 2022. Photo by Morgan Kromer

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Thinking back to the days before professional news services, the Founding Fathers’ news took weeks to go from one city or state to another in letter format.

They worked to advance that system, and with advancements in technology, it has continued to be renovated into what it is today.

If a war starts, most of the world knows in a click; think of how fortunate that makes us.

The news industry is often ridiculed, criticized or ignored completely; a 2021 Reuters Media Trust survey explained the United States ranked last out of 46 countries at 29% of 92,000 surveyed consumers trusting their sources, while Finland led at 65%. 

Yes, there are some outlets and individuals who take advantage of their information-sharing status in what consumers (and researchers) call agenda-setting and gatekeeping, which is the ability to influence and manipulate what is at the forefront of news topics, an important role of mass media but one that can also be abused.

However, on the whole, the news makes the world run how it currently does. 

Kelli Jones, Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s communications director, spoke on the importance of truth in journalism at the recent Pathway Journalism Retreat in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Jones said true journalists “are an essential ingredient to the functions of our democracy. Freedom of the press matters because a free press uncovers the truth. Without you [journalists], truth often remains buried. Free press holds institutions/people accountable – where they would otherwise go unchecked.”

Not only do we learn the truth about the current happenings in the country and the world, but also in our own cities and states.

Some of the most important elections, the ones in which we can make the most difference the quickest, are local elections. 

That’s why they say it is your civic duty to vote, because it is.

But one only knows who they want to vote for and can make their own decision when the straight facts are presented to them.

Our city’s newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, currently has a daily print circulation of over 96,000 on Sundays and over 62,000 on weekdays, reaching approximately 68% of the St. Louis population, according to their website

While their tangible newspapers reach about two million readers in the Greater St. Louis Area each month, the Post-Dispatch’s monthly online circulation records 41 million pageviews in that same amount of time (including the Post-Dispatch, Feast Magazine and the Ladue News), spanning across the entire country. 

The only way we as journalists can reach that many people is through such a medium as the internet.

The only ones who have the possibility of sharing unbiased information to the masses are journalists.

Nowadays, with so much high-definition mobile technology, they say anyone can be a journalist.

Much of that is shared through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

But much of what comes with the so-called “civilian reporter’s” content is not unbiased in any way, and rarely completely factual. 

To the “civilian with the iPhone’s” defense, they are not trained as journalists and are therefore not tied to a journalistic ethical standard.

In other words, they do not have to be objective. They are the public.

However, professional journalists, who cover the topics of the day and should be stating only facts, do their work with the clear intention of letting consumers form their own opinions. 

That is good journalism, and that is why professional news reporting is important.

If consumers do not stay informed by these unbiased sources, they are not even truly forming their own opinions.

Yes, paper news is dying out, but the future of professional information sharing is just beginning.

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Morgan Kromer

Morgan Kromer

Morgan Kromer is a staff journalist and associate editor for MBU Timeline. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. Kromer also works in the Student Success Center tutoring English, communications and Biblical studies. Kromer also writes her own blog, Morgan’s Migraines, which you can check out at: https://morgansmigraines.wordpress.com/

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About MBU Timeline

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DID YOU KNOW?
   
Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
   
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
   
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
   
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
   
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
   
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
   
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
   
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
   
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.