Diversify sources of news

Where do you get your news? According to the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) research, 79 percent of Filipinos said “they often get their news from incidental or random news exposure on their Facebook feed.” Based on a report by Kaithreen Cruz of The Manila Times, the ASoG results of the online survey of 2,000 respondents showed that 66 percent were getting their news from television; some 57 percent from YouTube; and 54 percent from news websites. I get 50 percent of the news from Twitter. My breakfast habit reaches over an hour because I devote it to reading the news as I savor my coffee brew. They go well together. I browse through the trends or a customized Twitter listing of authoritative online media sites, experts and personalities to get a rundown. Reading the news from the Manila Times and New York Times app is perfect for long reads. Occasionally I enable text to speech mode if I get bleary-eyed. Or throwing a voice command “what’s the news?” on the Google Nest Mini. It’s like tuning into the radio. Google news, (a personalized news aggregator that organizes and highlights what’s happening around me), is next. My husband is another source because he knows what issues are close to my heart. Either he blurts it out loud or shares it on iMessage. The limitation in using Google or my news list could trap me in an echo chamber. It is one reason I follow certain social media personalities that hold contrary views. I still need to be cautious and review if their opinions are based on facts. Getting the news on social media feeds could set you up in a filter bubble, so it is best to seek reliable sources.

Project Research Manager and Associate Professor Ma. Rosel San Pascual of ASoG even reminded the public that “it is not enough to get political news from your Facebook feed. The habit of actively seeking news from a variety of credible sources is very important to increase your understanding of politics and level of confidence in participating in political affairs.” It is interesting to note that “two in every three respondents or about 71 percent said they pay attention to posts about government and politics on their Facebook feed.”

You might have stumbled upon a forwarded message from Christelle Reganion in closed social media spaces. Reganion listened firsthand to supporters of presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Together with other volunteers, a company invited them to conduct a focused group discussion (FGD) with their employees about political discernment. While there were a number of supporters for another presidential candidate, Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo, in the group she facilitated, the majority were Marcos Jr. supporters. Despite having the same passion to fight corruption, she was puzzled. “So why do they still support two very different candidates? Where is the point of diversion?” She soon learned it’s in how they get their information. Her major discovery was that they don’t have time and energy to do in-depth research because after a full day of work, they just want to relax and go on Facebook. Then there is the general distrust of mainstream media, which is the reason a lot are now turning to non-traditional sources of information such as Facebook content creators and influencers. They say they prefer Facebook creators because they aren’t biased, unlike mainstream media. “How are you able to tell if a Facebook content creator is biased or not?” Christelle asked the group. And they were all stumped. The goal of that FGD was to get them to think twice about how they form their opinions and how they get their information.

“Those who are not reliant on their Facebook feed for news have a greater variety of sources of news for politics, government and governance. They are proactively seeking news, they do not just depend on random news exposure on their Facebook feed [and] they also encounter news from other sources. Thus, they are still informed even if they are not exposed to news from Facebook,” San Pascual explained.

Go beyond Facebook for your other sources of news.


First published at Sunday Business & IT, April 10, 2022.