"This is one of the most exciting times for journalism," said David Thigpen, Director of Undergraduate Journalism programs at UC Berkeley. Speaking before the League of Women Voters of Piedmont on September 23, 2018, Thigpen pointed out that although traditional (print) news has declined, news on line has tripled in the last five years. At the Berkeley School of Journalism the number of students has doubled in the last few years.
"The public square is now digital" he said, and social media is the main source of news for 18 to 25 year olds. Any one can call himself a journalist and the smart phone acts as a publisher. The causes include the 24 hour news cycle, the erosion of civil discourse and political paralysis.
So the questions arise. Who can we trust? Who can we believe? How do we deal with "Truth Decay" which reflects the diminishing role of facts and blurs the line between fact and opinion?
Here are some of his suggestions: Read a variety of material and make an assessment yourself. Look for the evidence, evaluate your sources. Who benefits? Who is left out? Are there multiple sources? Try to communicate with the sources.
Mr. Thigpen took many questions from the audience. He ended with the prediction that "we will come out of the present crisis in the long term."