spiel # 345234
7 October 2015
Oversaturation of Information Content
With many free and user friendly websites and smartphone apps these days it’s only natural that people are going to eventually share their viewpoint on political matters or issues dealing with the status quo. According to the Washington Post, statistics show that as of 2015, 1 billion people are on Facebook and 100 million people are on Instagram; that’s a lot of people vying to be heard, seen, and or recognized for their opinions or imagery. Naturally, out of this revolutionary means of communication people are going to disseminate news or happenings that are less than reputable or even biased. This is not necessarily a problem because everyone has the right to their opinion but it does directly affect those who want to make a career out of bringing truth and justice to distinguished news outlets for the consumption of it’s readers or viewers.
It has been said that nothing can change if we keep doing things the way they’ve always been done but, in order for people to believe something to be true it must come from a reliable and consistent source. We live in a time of great change and tradition smashing and while progress has been made on many fronts, it’s quite obvious that some people confuse and distort issues, injecting them with their own religious and personal beliefs that affect the country or even the globe. Given that “two-thirds of Americans have smartphones” (qtd. in PewResearchCenter) it’s very easy for someone to be tempted to say or do something on the internet that is going beyond just expressing themselves. This leads to a highly emotional, even irrational society that is great for catharsis but not so great in terms of issues that require some amount of objectivity, like abortion, when brought to the national stage.
Not every photojournalist is out to tell the complete truth and it’s probably their own fault that their job and methods have been called into question. Most famously for example, Brian Walski’s photograph of a British soldier with a large visible firearm in his right hand commanding an Iraqi refugee with a child in his arms to sit back down among a crowd of seated refugees, caused an outrage when it was discovered that he in fact Photoshopped two pictures together to give the Los Angeles Times a more dramatic depiction of the Iraq War: Walski was, of course, fired for his manipulation of the image. Was it wrong for his photo to be stripped from the shelves and his job taken away? While art certainly has it’s way of telling the truth, it is much better to be direct when it comes to recording a scene and trying pass it off in an informative manner.
On the opposite side of that, civilian recorded scenes of civil distress have been widely disseminated across the internet in the form of video. And while some may contend that it is much harder to manipulate video it does have its way of stirring emotion in people that can be just as effectively achieved via editing. Clips can incriminate people in a way that might not be complete story telling but since they are moving images we feel they are more real and more timely than a still photo can give us.
Certain traditions work for certain things. They don’t work for social issues. They don’t work for politics. They don’t work for motivating people to change but they do work for the exchange of information. Reverting back to a physical form of news might be the best way to avoid distortion. Society takes all that it has learned via social media and internet communication and encapsulates it in a more permanent way so the temptation to post or blog about something without either proper research or knowledge is taken away and all of the insight and passion is then left in its stead.