Are we better informed than our parents were? Our Grandparents? To hear them talk of the way things were compared to now, one would think that this generation doesn’t know who the president is while their college careers were filled with political protest and deep discussions about the great tides of change. I do not necessarily think that is true, although I believe our understanding of the world is different than that of past generations.
Our parents generation gained its news from the major newspapers and television stations of their era. In my Mom’s case that meant reading the New York Times and watching the NBC Nightly News. Now I gain my news information from a multitude of news sources. I watch at least one cable news show per day, read the headlines of the New York Times during my lunch break on campus and search the HuffingtonPost online. I also sometimes peruse the economist online and a few British newspapers, though only very rarely when I hear about a European news story that catches my attention. My take on the matter is that our parents most likely had a more in-depth exposure to each news story, as they actually read full articles. Our generation on the other hand have a more expansive view of the world, though perhaps less in-depth.
I have access to multiple views from multiple countries and regions on each issue. I can read the Russian perspective of the new nuclear arms treaty and reactions from other countries as well. My Mom only had access to the American perspective on issues. She did have the advantage of an attention span that lasts more than 2 minutes and actually read each article she read from cover to cover. Furthermore her news sources did not have to compete with blogs and cable news, which tends to dumb down stories and reduce them to their most interesting headline. I think that in all likelihood the generations are exactly as informed as they have always been, just in different ways.
Class Blog: New Media and Society