Newspapers, magazines, online articles, whatever the news source may be, are splattered with headlines leading readers in conflicting directions every single day. In light of recent incidents in Ferguson, The Equinox feels we should express our opinion when it comes to how we should process the news we read. Taking a step away from the Ferguson trial, a larger picture is revealed.

That picture illustrates the notion that we need to be selective about what we as citizens consume and what we believe to be the truth.

The Equinox is arguing that the first step a person should take when controversial breaking news hits, is to do intensive research before formulating an opinion that you will publicly display on Facebook or any other social media outlet.

Readers need to read beyond the headline. If a person only reads the headline of a hard news story and maybe the first couple sentences of the article, they cannot consider themselves fully informed with an educated and valid opinion.

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

With that said, comes the question; how do we know what to believe? The answer is, there may not always be a way to figure out the truth however, as a citizen, you can do your part by at least trying to be as knowledgeable as possible.

With that comes the idea of reading multiple news sources. We all know that everyone has their go-to news sources and that is fine, however, we would argue that it may not necessarily be a bad idea to hop onto different news websites and see what they are saying about the particular breaking news event. Every source you read from will have a different angle or a different opinion and while they may seem conflicting, it will allow you to decide for yourself what you believe the truth to be.

You cannot simply believe the first article that pops up and see it all as the whole truth because chances are, there is much more to the story. While we are not suggesting that news sources are flat-out lying to the public, we are saying that journalists are only humans and it is possible that their news reporting has flaws and there is always room for error.

New information is constantly coming out, so what was true in the news yesterday, may have already changed by today.

It is important that we always follow up on the articles that we read because the news doesn’t sleep. The story is constantly changing and it is important that we stay up to date with what is going on. We encourage readers to be conscious of the fact that there may be more to the story.

Oftentimes in journalism, a particular news source wants to be the first to report on a national issue. With that timeliness comes a price to pay. The information first released may not be completely accurate.

The major point we want our readers to understand is that as consumers, we need to stop talking and start reading before we come to any major conclusions. This is not to say that we discourage people from expressing their opinions on what can be a very personal issue to some, but we are, however, saying that a person should do their research before they speak on the issue.

So much of what littered Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites immediately proceeding the news about Ferguson was knee-jerk reactions. We are not arguing that the decision that was made was neither right nor wrong.

We are simply saying that many people did not give themselves the chance to process what actually happened before sharing their opinion all over social media.

We need to become educated consumers and avoid merely regurgitating what the media tells us. For example, if CNN posts an article, don’t just read that one article and let that shape your overall opinion on the issue.

Get interactive with your reading, do more intensive research, do your part as a citizen and be fully aware about what’s going on in the world.

In doing so, you may not be able to change what happened in terms of news, but you can consider yourself an aware and engaged citizen who is capable of defending themselves on important social issues.

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