EDITORIAL | Students Need Better Media Literacy, Media Like Penn State News Can Make This Better | Editorials | Reviews | Daily College
The importance of media literacy in the current state of journalism cannot be overstated.
Readers are increasingly questioning the information they consult every day. Journalists should only give them a reason to trust them, not to worry.
Whatever the medium, however, it is ultimately up to readers to understand the message of the media they consume and to properly inform themselves about current events – but that does not mean that the outlets themselves can’t make the job a little easier.
For Penn State students, there are many news outlets present in the community to keep them up to date with local and global news – there are student news outlets like The Daily Collegian, localized news outlets like the Center Daily Times and international news outlets like the New York Times that all students have access to.
The university itself also has its own news tab on its website where viewers will find a small selection of stories on general topics, ranging from athletics to scientific research conducted by members of the community of Penn State.
The main stories on the site generally highlight the success of the university and its members. While this is not bad news, it still highlights the many great things that students and faculty at different colleges are accomplishing.
These stories also showcase the many opportunities present at Penn State that students can participate in while promoting diversity.
The purpose of Penn State News is not meant to be another tough medium like many college students already have access to. In reality, the site is intended to present the university in its best light while practicing damage control when problems arise.
It’s not just an academic issue – most companies and institutions want to look their best. And while that’s the main focus of the site, Penn State always includes the latest news and press releases, even if that sometimes requires a deep dive.
This is the importance of media education. Readers should be able to simply decipher the meaning of media content. And because some Penn State students may not have the media savvy of others, Penn State News can make the student body process easier.
Students shouldn’t have to scroll up and down the site for the latest campus news. With improved site organization putting breaking news front and center, readers can see the day’s top headlines without having to search.
The site doesn’t need to change the type of content it specializes in. However, some stories of great significance to the Penn State community, such as the decision to return to in-person learning, should be easily accessible for students to find. no problem.
There is no need for an elaborate process to find certain stories or news. Stories should be seen as they unfold, not until later today.
With its title “Penn State News”, some students may come to associate the site with that of a 24/7 newsroom, publishing the latest news as it happens. While that doesn’t mean the university should change the name of the site, many students would benefit from knowing if that’s what they’re looking for, they’re probably better off on another website.
One of the university’s strengths when it comes to community information is its newsletter, Penn State Today, which is sent to all students’ emails, providing them with the day’s top stories from of the different sections found on the site.
The newsletter is sent out early each morning, several hours before many students wake up. Perhaps sending it later in the day when students are on their phones will be more effective in encouraging engagement with content.
Regardless of what time the newsletter is sent, it is ultimately the responsibility of the students to ensure that they read the information provided to them. Because, let’s face it, most students probably don’t read the news even if it’s delivered directly to them.
Penn State News also publishes open letters from President Eric Barron, which are only sent to students. For alumni who want to keep up to date with Barron’s messages but aren’t getting the emails, the site provides all the information they need. Whenever an open letter is sent, it usually deals with an important issue on campus.
Readers need to become more familiar with the media by consuming more news every day, while media outlets like Penn State News must strive to report as clearly as possible and make their content easily accessible.
Both parties have a responsibility to work to develop media literacy in the current climate of journalism.
Daily Collegian Opinion editor Joe Eckstein can be reached at [email protected]