Wednesday, April 23, 2014

URSP Student Amanda Lee Examines How an Individual’s News Consumption Affects Their Depth of Political Knowledge

My research project was prompted and inspired by a YouTube video I saw in class from the Jimmy Kimmel Live television show. In the clip, someone from the show goes up to random people on Hollywood Boulevard asking them “What do you think is better, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?” Each person definitely recognized the terms and chose which one they preferred, giving various reasons for their decision. They actually had no idea, that both choices mean the same thing, and that Obamacare was just a nickname for the bill coined by the media. This made me wonder, with all the bylines, tweets, notifications, updates and statuses that are running rampant in our daily lives, are we more informed or less? Does the way we now consume news- through our smart phones, Twitter and Facebook- affect the depth of our political knowledge? This particular focus was also very relatable to my professional life since I’m an aspiring journalist as well as a student. I have been interning in the news industry for the past year and a half, so I know any type of information that I gather regarding our society and news consumption can greatly aid me in future jobs. The way we consume information is so different from just a couple years ago, and this project motivates me to find out if we’re actually using our technology to gain a better understanding of current events and politics, or if it actually makes us more superficial when it comes to news. Since starting my project this past Fall 2013 semester, my responsibilities and activities for this project have changed on a weekly basis to reflect the development of the research process. Since January however, my weeks have been mainly dedicated to developing and circulating my survey, and collecting the results. The results have just started to come in these past three weeks, so my time right now is spent trying to analyze the data. One thing I learned this week: out of 262 responses, 212 of them could correctly identify a picture of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked classified documents.