The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Navigating the news: The need for media literacy

Photo courtesy of Kyle Mills/Unsplash

U.S. politics have become notorious for intense division. This can be partially attributed to the reporting and news that is provided through media outlets. Some Americans develop limited and one sided perspectives on political elections by attaching themselves to news companies that they align with politically, only reaffirming the beliefs they hold. This is dangerous because it feeds into polarizing content creation, and vast divisions throughout the two party system. Through the internet, a variety of opinions and news articles are available for anyone to access. This has led to people only seeking out or interacting with content that they’ll agree with. This is known as confirmation bias, and falling victim to it is one of the main contributors to being an uninformed or misled citizen. 

Additionally, the vast amount of citizen reporting that occurs on social media only complicates the process of being informed. Navigating national and international news is a necessity to being informed, but it can be overwhelming trying to weed through varying degrees of implicit bias and subjectivity within the wide spectrum of ways people can get news. Many people detach from the news because of this, and form a general apathy towards things that truly have a great effect on them. According to the Digital News Report 2023 from Reuters Institute, a journalism research group affiliated with the University of Oxford, studies show only 4 in 10 people have complete trust that the news is a reliable source of information. A general distrust in the news can lead to just a general avoidance of it. In the same Reuters news report, 38 percent of survey respondents said they avoid certain topics in the news. 

To combat this, everyone today needs to develop their sense of media literacy, which is the aptitude to recognize and respond to messaging, misinformation and bias. Developing reliable, effective media literacy habits is essential for being secure in the information you’re consuming. While you can’t vote for most of your time in high school, being aware of your political representatives and nation as a whole is very important. You will one day have influence over your government, and it’s important to develop news consumption habits that promote informed voting and political action. 


Behind the Byline
Brennan Cunningham, News and Features Editor
Brennan Cunningham is a News and Features Editor of the 2023-2024 West Essex Wire staff. He is a musician, Eagle Scout, and loves to spend time with his family, friends and dog.
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