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FTC Mass Communication student Starr Fuentes was invited by the Fair Media Council to be a featured panelist at its 2019 annual national media conference. She wrote about her experience for The FTC Record online.

by Starr Fuentes

On December 3rd, the Fair Media Council held its annual conference at the Garden City Hotel in Garden, City New York to bring the news media and interested professionals together. This event’s theme is “Real and Powerful.” With panels ranging from “Establishing Relationships With The News Media” to “Fine-Tuning Your Social Media,” the Fair Media Council made it known that there would be a wide range of topics. Some notable guest speakers included BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, Wall Street Journal Reporter Aisha Al-Muslim, and CNN Senior Political Analyst & Anchor John Avlon. This conference was a perfect way to have open discussions with media experts.

I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker on the “News and The Millennial Generation” panel. I spoke alongside Subrarta De, Executive Producer for VICE Investigates and Diane Masciale, Vice President and General Manager for WLIW. Our moderator was Mark Lukasiewicz, former NBC News executive and current Hofstra University Dean of the Lawrence Herbert School Communication. Sitting beside these extremely talented and educated news professionals was a true honor.

For weeks leading up to the panel, I researched the topics our panel would be discussing to come up with a few main points to touch on. I also asked my friends some questions about the topics to gain their thoughts. The goal was to understand where and how Millennials and Generation Z get their news.

Once I had all of my main talking points, I sent them to Mr. Lukasiewicz. I wanted to be sure that I was well versed in the topic of conversation to contribute insight to the audience.

Most of the attendees worked for newspapers, television and radio news networks, and public relations firms. All of them have a similar goal, which is to grab a Millennial or Gen Z’s attention for a long period of time. Let’s face it. Most college students do not read the newspaper or turn on the television to watch the 6:00 pm news anymore. These content creators were counting on me to give them my best advice and insight. I was a little bit nervous because my role had an important purpose. But with preparation, communication with my fellow panelists, and speaking honestly, it felt natural and was a success. We had a great discussion about how outlets such as Snapchat and Twitter have places to obtain trending news, making it easier for Millennials and Gen Z’s to receive their daily dose of information. I emphasized how these groups use social networks during their day, so it needs to be second nature to swipe left to see the day’s trending topics or access further details. It was nice to know that the perspective I contributed was valuable to the attendees at the conference.

Once my session was over, I had the opportunity to sit in some of the other panels. When it comes to news, there is so much to know, but there were some important concepts I learned at the conference. Sometimes the amount of information is overwhelming and sometimes you don't have the time to read a newspaper. I understand, trust me! However, it's so important to understand what is going on in the world around you.

Here are the ways to get on track:

· First, cut down on cute cat and dog videos. Constantly clicking on those videos will flood your feed. Data saving technology called “cookies” keep track of what you watch on your devices. Make sure you balance the content you consume or else you will be trapped in a bubble and not exposed to enough hard news or trending news stories.

· Second, once you balance out your feed, make sure when you click on a link to a news story it isn't “Fake News.” I think it is safe to say that fake news is everywhere. It is important to rule out the fake news sites you might be bombarded with. So, be sure to check your sources before you share a link.

· Lastly, take time out of your day for news. Once you find credible news sources you trust, start to follow their stories. Turn on their notifications, so whenever a trending story breaks out, you will be in the know. You can also follow specific journalists on social media. Tune into a television newscast a few times during the week and watch a longer-form news presentation.

By creating a solid news routine, you can apply these steps across local, sports, regional and world news. It is essential to stay current on important and trending topics.

Organizations such as the Fair Media Council provide a great way for students to understand the way that media works.


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