Would Self-Curated News Be Better Than Other-Curated News?
In Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, author Ethan Zuckerman proposes that most of us have a distorted worldview, largely because we are receiving only the information that news outlets deem worthy of sharing (decisions driven by the profit motive). For example, Zuckerman provides evidence that the U.S. public receives less international news coverage than ever, with U.S. television news reporting less than half the international stories it did in the 1970s. As a remedy, he suggests that we become our own news curators, specifically seeking the unfamiliar, following a new topic of interest, and making a conscious effort to “wander” through the news in the hope of achieving greater cognitive diversity. Zuckerman also suggests that we track our media usage, which will show that we are not spending our time as engaged in a diversity of ideas as we may think we are, an exercise that should motivate us to change our behavior.
While reviewer Kathleen Cook doesn’t disagree with Zuckerman’s proposed solutions, she is skeptical that people will follow through. As she puts it, “Zuckerman’s recommendations are like the doctor’s advice we know we should follow. The doctor is right, but we still sit on the couch with our potato chips.”
Do you agree with Zuckerman, that we can become our own, effective news curators, or with Cook, who is skeptical that we can? What is the solution to our (over)reliance on information gatekeepers who decide what counts as news?
By Kathleen Cook
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(4)