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Our View: Bad News, sources of confusion

Published: Monday, January 27, 2014

Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 18:01

Great news! The Herald has hidden $100 bills in 5 copies of this circulated issue. The sooner you pick up your issue, the greater chance you have of finding one. And you’d better hurry. The buzz is bound to end up on the internet soon, sparking a possible shortage of newspapers.

In our age of technology, it is easier and faster than ever to get the latest news updates.

Our access to a wealth of information makes it easy to share with other people, which is great, but for every innovation there is the possibility for unintended drawbacks. In this case, false information can be spread just as easily as the truth, leading to misunderstanding and disappointment.

Over the winter break, rumors spread about Arkansas State moving to the Big 12 conference. The first article to break the news was posted on many A-State fan pages on Facebook and Twitter and then made rounds throughout the rest of the Red Wolves community. After all, who wouldn’t want to spread such great news?
The only problem was the article was fake. It was posted by the Rock City Times, a comedy site similar to The Onion, whose slogan boasts “Arkansas’ 2nd most unreliable news source.” However, many people did not get the joke.

Even before the break rumors flew about our football coach leaving A-State. One such story was that Bryan Harsin’s name had been “taken off the consideration list” for Boise State’s new head coach.  While this helped many Red Wolves fans sleep better that night, pain came in the morning when it was announced Harsin was officially leaving for the Smurf Turf.

As time goes on it seems our culture, including news sources, increasingly cares more about being the first to break the news than whether it is actually true.

Our rush to break news can have detrimental effects. Sharing false information through word of mouth doesn’t spread very fast, but adding the internet makes news spread faster. A simple joke can evolve into a widespread rumor.  A misheard quote can easily lead to unintentional slander.

Bottom line, it is important to verify information before taking it as true. We need to be skeptical and take the time to actually confirm a source before believing it. Being the first to know might make you seem cool at first, but if the news you preach turns out to be false, it only makes everyone more foolish in the end.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t find any money in this issue. If there was it would probably be in our pockets already. But by verifying sources before assuming the truth, we can all join together and laugh at those who are still ripping through the pages.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. Opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of A-State.

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