Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog #4: Choice

Due: Sunday, March 3
Word count: 400 or more.
Minimum number of links: 3 actual sources, not just definitions.

Potential New Questions:

  • What kind of choices do you make about news? How does that impact your view of the world? Choosing "No." to news is also a choice.

  • Do you believe what the old folks say about online news being bad for people? Were things better when we had fewer choices? Or, is this something great?

  • Barry Schwartz argued that too many choices lead to paralysis. Do you think that applies to news coverage? If this is true, what should a person do to stay up-to-date on news coverage, narrowing choices down without falling victim to confirmation bias? Maybe Barry is full of crap.

  • Whose fault is it when people make bad choices about news?

  • What's the difference between allowing people to customize their news and encouraging confirmation bias?

  • Does "He-said-she-said" Journalism encourage the propagation of unpopular opinions or is it balance?


People are customizing their news sources, clicking on only stories they want to read, and deciding where they get their news from on an individual level. One one level, this is a great thing. People are more involved with news than ever before, and that means that people are more likely to read news.

On the other hand, this means that people can choose to ignore news that they don't like or topics they simply don't want to hear about. This could create problems.

The following video talks about this Paradox of Choice. If the video won't load, go here.

What do you think the right balance is?

There are certainly things people need to know, but we know that not all people will choose to listen to it. How do you break through the culture of choice when there are important issues to be heard?

How do you break through the issues of 140-character attention spans and give people something other than a headline. We all blogged about how the truth is a lengthy process, but we rely on summaries and headlines more than ever.

We expect doctors to do what's right for our bodies or mechanics to do what's right for our cars based on their expertise, training, and experience, however, we may not give that same permission to editors or publications.

Are people capable of making good information choices for themselves?  Are we losing something by replacing magazines and newspapers with digital content? Is confirmation bias a real problem, or is it even an issue at all?

How to you still give people a choice while also making them knowledgeable, informed participants in the global culture and a democratic society? Or, is that even desirable?

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