Friends as Editors: How Social Media Is Changing the Way We Consume News

“We’re squarely in the digital age of media communication,” says Michael Dimock, president of the Pew Research Center. He provided insight into modern news consumption at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “Ninety percent of Americans get news from digital devices,” and more people are choosing to consume news via mobile rather than a personal computer. Many news consumers, particularly young people, get their information on social media, where hard news, soft features, and updates from friends are blended together. According to Dimock, young consumers are tuning out “warring experts” on traditional cable TV news and instead turning to friends as sources of credibility. “They can go to their social networks to help curate information,” Dimock says. “They’ll rely on the experiences and views of people they have a reason to trust, rather than so-called experts who seem to be giving conflicting information.”
With the reliance of friends as news curators rather than editors at premier news organizations, the day’s most important news event is different for everyone. “Each of us has a wholly different set of what we’re paying attention to in politics,” Dimock says. Some people may choose to only read information consistent with their own beliefs, but if Facebook is where people are turning for news, Dimrock says a Pew study shows most people think the views in their newsfeed are not consistent with their own.
Watch more of Michael Dimock’s discussion below, and catch additional panels that follow his talk, on The Conundrum of Covering Donald Trump and Media and the Future of the Business.

Humanities in Decline: A Cultural Crisis
Is America turning its back on the humanities? Colleges and Universities are experiencing declining enrollment in disciplines like history, literature, and the arts. In this episode, Leon Wieseltier, contributing editor for The Atlantic, and Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust unpack why the diminished appeal of the humanities has huge cultural implications. Can this trend be reversed in the age of technology and quantification? Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.
Educational Development in Flint, Michigan
Two-year-old Carrington, pictured, is from Flint, Michigan. She’s reading thanks to a program called Flint Kids Read that provides children, childcare providers, teachers, and parents with books to establish a strong educational foundation for early life. Program creator Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha won the Booz Allen Aspen Ideas Award at the Ideas Festival in June. The $25,000 in prize money she received has helped her raise even more money, and launch a community-wide initiative on early literacy under the umbrella of Flint Kids Read
Memorable Words
“Cook with your kids. Garden with your kids. Engage. Make food important.” — Ann Cooper, Spotlight Health 2016
Ann Cooper is a chef, educator, and advocate for better food for children. She founded of the Chef Ann Foundation that focuses on finding solutions to the school food crisis.