Nieman Reports invited some of Youth Radio’s student journalists—past and present—to tell us what they don’t like about mainstream press.
“I don’t watch mainstream news, but I do stay informed. Even if I didn’t want to know what’s in the news, friends or family would tell me. My parents have TV news chattering away while they’re in the kitchen preparing dinner. When I check my e-mail, headlines pop up everywhere. But when I want to find out what’s happening here and around the world, I turn to smaller, independent news sources. They don’t have the kind of skewed priorities that mainstream news does, with so much of it being more entertainment than real news and stories reported over and over again.” — Margarita Rossi, 20 years old
“There might be a difference in the details, but the stories are the same, and all the news anchors look like clones of each other. What they say is so predictable; they make a fake compassionate statement about a bad incident, a very stupid joke, and then sign off … with voices that sound like they practice faking them all day. When a multimillion-dollar news company wastes money and airtime to talk about Prince William’s first girlfriend or Ben Affleck’s birthday, it turns me off as a viewer. They really don’t address or question the real problems that lead up to big stories, like the terrible job that Oakland mayor Jerry Brown is doing.” — Josh Clemmons, 18 years old
“I still read the paper almost every day, but it’s just to get the basics. I know there’s a lot they’re leaving out, printing only the news that is considered acceptable when it comes to issues like the Middle East or the realities of the juvenile justice system. All in all, I just try to look at any mainstream media with a critical eye because I know there’s so much more than what we are presented.” — Sophie Simon-Ortiz, 17 years old
“If I rely on the dominant news sources like NBC, CBS, Fox or ABC to give me all of my information, I won’t learn about a lot of the issues that are relevant to my life. Mainstream news is just like another ‘Friends’ or ‘Paradise Hotel’: fun to watch, but nothing to learn from. I’d like to see an alternative that I can trust, but I don’t know what it would look like, since it doesn’t seem to exist.” — Nora Harrington, 17 years old