Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

It is more important than ever to become a critical consumer of news

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Ebola: The virus that seems to be taking over our Twitter feeds and newspaper headlines faster than it's actually taking root in America. Why is it that our media is presenting Ebola as such a high risk for Americans?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website states that "the risk for an outbreak in the U.S. is very low," so shouldn't we be focused more on areas where Ebola is a risk such as countries like Sierra Leone?

Why do we focus on Ebola in general, when there are many other medical issues, such as widespread bacterial infections like Tuberculosis, that present a much higher risk for people in the U.S. and around the world?

This is just one example of many in which the media, including newspapers, magazines and news websites, has taken a story and run with it, presenting it to be far more of a current issue and risk for the average American than other events.

The Editorial Board believes this sensationalist method of obtaining readers or viewers is something that needs to stop in today's media, and we are in no way exempt from this sort of criticism.

The Miami Student has come under scrutinization as well for presenting stories that make small issues seem like large, campus-wide problems such as theft and mental health difficulties.

How can we, as a society, stop this vicious cycle? The solution comes from both the average person and the media doing their part.

On the end of print and electronic media, new sources need to present information and stories to the public that are relevant and of importance. Top news sources, such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, are arguably the best in the business at doing this.

Unfortunately, with the competitive atmosphere that comes with a shrinking news audience, media outlets are more inclined to produce stories that are catchy and appeal to short attention spans. Many more people are likely to read a short tweet about an arrest than a lengthy column on problems in the Middle East.

And that brings us to the other end of the problem: the consumer. We all have moments where we simply read a Yahoo headline rather than delving into the actual story, or choosing to read the article about Blake Lively's baby bump or Kris Jenner's divorce over the story on Thailand's current effort to write a new national constitution. It's an easy tendency that we all fall into.

Changing our attitude toward media and our consumption of news doesn't mean we have to give up reading celebrity gossip.

However, it does mean becoming more critical and focused on the news that is presented to us in the media. We all need to become more aware of the facts behind the stories we read, and what the true issues are in the world around us.

If we all don't start paying more attention to what's happening around us, news sources will continue to give us simple and mindless stories that grab our attention for a few minutes.

We at The Miami Student have to do our part as well. That means better reporting and fact checking, as well as taking a hard look at what the real campus issues are and what students and community members need to be informed about.

We will work our hardest to provide the university and the Oxford community with the most relevant and factual pieces, but it is on the shoulders of the students, faculty and community members to understand the necessity of paying attention to these stories.

The Editorial Board believes this is a two-part effort and it's something that can change the culture of news consumption.

It can give everyone a better idea of local and global issues that actually matter.

Take time to read more news stories from various news outlets that will provide a more well-rounded view of an issue or event.

Giving just slightly more attention to the things we are reading and watching can go a long way in changing our perspectives on the media and the world.