The Impact of the News on the Public
News is the general information about recent happenings. This can be given through various media: writing, newsprint, radio, television, postal services, wire services, or by the testimony of witnesses and observers to happenings. It is of essence that the news is true and correct so that it can have any impact on the decisions of the public and the society at large. As such, the responsibility of the media to deliver the news in a truthful way to its audience is trusted to them. However, there are some instances when the function of news is threatened or compromised.
The first and foremost reason that the media should be trusted for the news is that they are accountable to their viewers. Every citizen has the right to know what is happening in the country and what is taking place in other countries. Media have to make sure that the news they deliver is true and factual. If the public is not able to trust the media for the news, the only recourse they have is to look to someone else for the news.
Media companies are also responsible to their advertisers. Advertisers have to make sure that they can get the kind of audience that they want for their products and services in the market. Therefore, if the news agencies are unable to provide the news to the public that they want, advertisers will go elsewhere for their news.
The news can be manipulated by some vested interests. There have been many cases where the media is accused of fudging the facts in order to advance certain political candidates or to conceal newsworthy events. Media companies cannot be trusted blindly to keep secrets and give out news without verifying it with the appropriate authorities first. This is one of the major reasons why citizens are skeptical about the media.
News can have negative effects on the public. Take, for instance, the recent news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. The mainstream media ran with the story, without giving any further details. This news caused a lot of panic among the general public, especially for those who are frequent flyers. This news was later proven to be false by the authorities. However, there were several people who were affected by the news due to its huge impact on the public’s consciousness.
The other problem with the media is that they tend to sensationalize a simple incident and give it more importance than it deserves. Take, for instance, the recent news about school children being kidnapped. There were numerous reports about the kidnapping and all the attendant media coverage. This news eventually led to several kidnappings occurring in different parts of the country, with the police being unable to trace the abductors. This caused a public outcry and prompted the government to launch an extensive investigation to trace the abductors.