What Can We Learn from Misleading News Titles?

In order to help us pick what we want to view, websites add short summaries on the link of whatever is actually inside the link. The short summary will, in most cases, will be the title of the webpage. Sometimes, however, these short summaries are misleading as it is in the case of this webpage. The short summary is: “Social media makes student writing worse teachers”, while the actual title of the article is: “Social media makes for better student writing, not worse, teachers say.”This is probably a technical error that ABC News simply did not notice. The article is mainly about how social media encourages collaboration and creativity. Perhaps the one part of the article that actually relates to the misinformation provided in the article link is the fact that social media adversely affects spelling in students, especially those who have always lived in the era of “texting.”

We, as aspiring critical thinkers, can learn something from this. This should teach us to always look at any type of writing with an analytical perspective, and to never take things, especially the news, at face value. One of the major goals of INTD 105 is to mold us into critically thinking readers and writers and one of the things that will help us in this endeavor is to, unsurprisingly, critically think about everything that we read.

As young adults who are growing up in the boom of technology, many of us rely on these short summaries for all of our news. For example I have a friend, who I will refer to as Jane, who gets all of her news from the notifications that CNN sends her phone. She does not read the actual articles, but instead, relies on the “BREAKING NEWS” updates. If you really want to become a better critical thinker then do not be like Jane. Take the time to read things that peak your interest. However, do not just read something to read it. Challenge the views that are being presented to you, even if  you agree with them. Do you own research and come back to see if you still agree.

A few days ago my passion for newspaper reading was sparked again so I bought a subscription to the NYT, WSJ, and The Washington Post (I subscribed to three because they provide different perspectives on the political spectrum, of liberal to conservative, and allow me to form my own opinion on the subject being discussed). I read a few dozen articles and then I stumbled on a few regarding Iran and its recent ballistic missile test, which President Trump’s administration says is in violation of UN sanctions and the Iran nuclear deal, whose real name is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA for short (I know, not as cool). The nuclear deal piqued my interest and I decided to do my own research on it. I read various news reports from a myriad of different newspapers and then I just read the actual nuclear deal itself. It turns out that it was not as amazing as the government was making it out to be. By critically approaching those news articles on the JCPAO, I was driven to do my own research and build my own opinion.

I know, I went on quite the tangent there in the end on news and current affairs. I did that to make a point. Every single one of us should approach all forms of news and media with a grain of salt. Yes, it is important to read but if you are just reading for the sake of finishing what you’re reading then what are you truly gaining? By approaching everything your mind consumes analytically  we are not only able to expand the depth and reach of our knowledge but also form our own opinions, as opposed to just mindlessly agreeing with everything thats presented to you. I hope you’ll think about this next time you see a sensationalized news headline on Facebook.

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