Whether or not our fellow undergraduates are more or less well-informed than the people in our position ten years ago is a tough question to answer. First of all we need a definition of well-informed which is not a concrete term that can easily be measured. What does it mean to be well-informed? How much “stuff” do we need to know about to be well-informed? Are their certain types of journalism that contributes to being well-informed whereas other types of journalism don’t? For example, what weight does an online article on the health care debate compared to the latest update on the Kardashian family?
Fenton discusses some changes in news over the past couple of decades that are important to consider when evaluating this question. He says the news has become more globalized, there are fewer people who own the majority of the journalism outlets, and the advances in technology. One of the chief changes between an undergrad getting their news now opposed to 10 years ago has to be connected to the advances in technology. We are all on our smart phones and various devices that allow us to be connected more of the time than our “10 year ago counterparts.” While I would confidently argue that we spend more time getting information through the internet now, I’m not sure if this means that we are more or less informed. Much of the online journalism is repetitive in that many sites highlight the same stories. It seems that a lotof the information is presented in the same way with the same intentions (to appeal to the most people to make the largest profit). Also, online journalists are sometimes so concentrated on getting the story out their first that they may be less thorough in their reporting. I know that ten years ago my parents got their information through print newspaper and magazines and now a large portion of what they read is online. However, the fragmentation of the news (probably a result of faulty business models) makes it difficult to measure how much we are really getting from these online sites. In conclusion, I would say that the way we get our information is undoubtedly changing and while these new mediums may have the potential to make us more informed, they haven’t necessarily yet.