In his quest, he sent me a couple questions for comment. Here's how I responded:
1. What are some responsible ways that we, as citizens, can stay informed?
The best way to stay informed is to be open to a diversity of news and information sources, from NPR to newspapers, both print and online; from cable TV to network newscasts; from local TV news to area radio; as well as magazines and the advertising all around us.
Too often we get locked into the same sources of information, which can restrict the points of view we read, see and hear. It's immensely beneficial to be aware of what all sides are saying, especially on controversial issues, such as health care, the bailout and spending on higher education.
2. How do you feel about the current handling of news events by the media? If anything, what should they do differently?
Different media appeal to different people. While I may not agree with opinions expressed on CNN, or NPR or Fox, there are many other information consumers who do. Media is a business, after all, and one of its chief concerns is building and maintaining an audience.How would you answer Ryan's query?
In the end, each media outlet establishes its own level of credibility. It's up to consumers to decide how much they are willing to believe. That's why it's so important for people to be savvy information processers. Don't believe everything you see, hear or read. Get the whole story before making up your mind.
(Photo credit: "Trust" by SeenyaRita courtesy of Flickr.com)