‘What is the media and what do you think about it?’ Have you ever tried to find answers to these questions seriously? The media shares information and helps from public opinion on a matter. They uncover truths and announce them to the world through mass media outlets.
The role of the media is to basically deliver information. For them, honesty and reliability are absolute necessities. It’s sure that media and the government can’t be separated. They influence each other on bad or good side.
Most people in Korea, however, have negative attitudes not only towards the press, also the government. They think they hide the information own their own and alert the people. Why they think like that? News reporters are under big pressure to meet deadline. They don’t often have enough time to cover a subject in detail. Some would argue that they just have designs on viewer ratings its feed. As a result, people say, “We can’t trust the press. They’re like a marionette controlled by government.” So do people have any interest in the midia?
The Dankook Herald (DKH) conducted a survey with Dankookians about their interest in the press. We asked how many students were actually interested in the news. 44% of respondents answered they hardly watch any news at all. 28% watch the news more than 3 times a week while 7% watch the news more than 5 times a week. Only 18% of our respondents watch the news almost every day.
When we asked about the degree of reliability of the press on a scale of 1 to 5, 47% of respondents replied 3 was the right number while 11% answered 1 and no respondents said 5.
So why do Dankookians think the dependability of the media is low? The strongest belief is that the government controls all media, so the messages are biased. People believe the government hides potential controversies through the press with skewed messaging. Therefore, people cannot trust the government nor the press. The second reason people have little faith in the media is that there are many incorrect news reports. There are articles where it seems reporters make assumptions but do not confirm facts, so sometimes the news changes. People end up only half believing reports.
We also asked if Dankookians were interested in our own media such as the university newspaper and or our broadcasting system. 32% of respondents said they had never even heard of them. 27% were not interested in them while only 3% said that they are. Only 1% reported being very interested in our university media.
More specifically, we asked how many people were interested in the newspaper press at Dankook University. 32% of respondents answered they never really heard anything about of it, while 8% said they didn’t even know it existed. 20% of all respondents replied that they sometimes read it and 16% said they never read it. Only 2% of all respondents reported reading it all the time.
With this in mind, how many students who are actually aware of the existence of the DKH, read the newspaper? 35% of respondents said they knew about the existence of the DKH, but they did not read the newspaper. 14% said they had never heard about it while only 7% said they read it regularly.
Through this survey we can see how little interest students have in the news. So does this mean that nobody reads the school paper? To find out more on this topic, the DKH interviewed You Jae-hee (Freshman, Dept. of Middle Eastern Studies). He stated he is trying to stay informed by the media and sometimes reads the DKH’s newspaper to get necessary information about college life and get the latest school notices. He thinks the media is important because nowadays new information comes from various sources and some of them contain unverified information. If people do not have the ability to think critically, they may end up trusting the wrong sources. This causes serious differences of opinion and also leads to communication gaps.
Our society is made up by everyone including you. For this reason, everyone has a stake in it. Therefore, people should have sense of responsibility when forming public opinion. To do this, you need to be concerned about the press and try to see what’s happening in the world from various angles. If there is incorrect information being shared, people should make an effort to bring change. Indifference is not the solution. When the press is getting things wrong, we must be concerned and correct the situation. You need to be the master of yourself and not merely the servant of the nation.
박정운, 안희진 firstname.lastname@example.org