This pandemic has changed the world. In terms of media, it has firmly cemented in the public’s minds the flaws and downsides of the media, while highlighting the importance of remedying these shortcomings. In a time like this, media accuracy is everything (quite literally life or death), and the momentous magnitude of news coverage can be disparaging for consumers. Credibility and quality over quantity should be the main-takeaways from this turbulent and transformative time.
As a media consumer, I have been on social media sites an increased amount (due to ample time), but I have participated in traditional news media sources less since the transition to remote schooling. Social media sites (which are typically a hotbed for disinformation – due to their algorithmic style of content promotion based on engagement (Garza)) have changed by actively fighting back against disinformation by providing embedded links to trustworthy websites on content addressing COVID-19. I gather my news on the progression of this pandemic through my family and a couple trustworthy instagram accounts, along with personal testimonials online. At this time, nearly all media sources exclusively pertain to COVID-19. The media saturation is overwhelming to me.
From the readings, the quote that stood out to me is: “This ongoing culture of fear typically overstates the actual dangers and obfuscates real risks in the process” (boyd). In context, it referred to something else, but this concept stands highly relevant to our current pandemic. Social media runs on opinion, and uninformed people spread misinformation. In this pandemic, this “culture of fear” has manifested twofold – in over exaggeration, and under exaggeration; both distracting from the real risks. People are panic buying 800 rolls of toilet paper, yet on the other hand, our President previously stated that lockdown could end by Easter. The President is a perfect example of the direct impact disinformation spreading can create during this time.
This is a long video (that I would highly recommend watching) but the specific section that I want to highlight is 1:30-4:42.
As this pandemic has transpired and become more “real” to citizens the efforts toward accurate media has increased, and the importance stressed – because we’ve learned how dangerous it is to underestimate this disease.
boyd, danah. (2007) “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Garza, Alejandro de la. “How Social Media Is Shaping Our Fears of the Coronavirus.” Time, Time, 16 Mar. 2020.
The Daily Show. “Trevor’s Extended Thoughts on Trump’s Initial Response to Coronavirus.” Youtube, Comedy Central, 17 Mar. 2020.