Time for Thought

You know how they say don’t believe everything you hear? Well, don’t believe everything you read either.

As I overheard conversations last week about how Justin Bieber is coming to Ferris Fest, a sly smirk immediately crossed my face. All it took was for one or two people to read the front-page headline of last week’s Torch and tell their friends without reading into it.

The fact that so many readers believed the April Fool’s joke, even for a second, led me to two observations about our society today.

The first observation is that even in a world where you can touch the screen on your cell phone and instantly have stories from several news outlets, newspapers still play an important role in our society.

Newspapers have certainly taken a back seat to emerging technologies and “blazing” fast Internet speeds. That being said, print news still exists because people still read them. You can’t find a story about a college student who plays the piano to entertain the elderly on a tech blog.

The second observation is that we are so completely blanketed in information overload that we often don’t stop and think for two seconds. If I told you the Ferris football program was being cut so the athletics department could add water polo and cricket, you would call me insane. And if everyone had read the “In this Issue” section at the bottom of the front page last week, I wouldn’t even be bringing this up.

Are we blaming cell phone companies, TV providers or advertising giants for our inability to take 30 seconds of our busy days to think? I don’t think so. In fact, many people would not even know how to act without their iPhone or Droid in their pocket at all times.

It has become second nature for us to read news stories without questioning the reporter at all. News sources have built a level of trust with their readers and viewers and 99.9 percent of the time they are accurate.

Nonetheless, that shouldn’t stop us from thinking for ourselves. n