Media works to build trust in a time of decreased news consumption

JD Peak

Contributing Writer

George Lang, adviser of The Vista, outside the Mass Comunications building. (JAYDON SIMS/THE VISTA).

The University of Central Oklahoma’s coordinator of Student Publications, George Lang, spoke Tuesday about the current state of The Vista, UCO’s school newspaper, in a time where less news is being consumed. According to a study by Pew Research Center on Oct. 24, news consumption in the United States has been decreasing since 2016, said research analyst Naomi Forman-Katz. 

Despite this study, UCO has seen an increase in interest. Lang said more copies of The Vista copies are being picked up from the stands lately. He said The Vista prints 1,000 copies for each new edition and plans to expand the number of copies to 1,500 to 2,000.  

“Overall, news consumption has gone down as a result of two major things. One was the changes that digital media made in the industry, and then also a growing distrust for news,” said Lang. 

Lang said social media and much of digital news supplies a more surface-level view of current events. 

“The consumption of substantial news has gone down. We’re just trying to figure out how to get back,” said Lang.

Lang said the mistrust for the media stems from untrustworthy media outlets that spread misinformation or disinformation. To help combat this mistrust for the media, Lang said that it is important to have a good relationship with the audience. 

The Vista is available to contact anytime through social media and letters to the editor.

“We’re trying to reach out to our readers as much as possible to give them a lot of the things that they want and then also give them a lot of the things that they need,” said Lang. 

Lang said another way that The Vista tries to relate to its readers is by involving students in the process of creating the paper. 

“Our primary readership is our college students, so it’s really important to have college students in leadership roles at the newspaper because they can identify the things that people are likely to care about,” said Lang. 

Lang said that putting the news online has also helped more students read the news. 

“People are living online or on their phones, so we really have to be able to get to people where they are at. Newspapers are important but they’re not going to be with us forever. So, for the next several years, I’m going to be working on making our digital product as strong as possible so that someday, if the physical newspaper goes away, we’re going to have a really solid digital version,” said Lang.

Lang said that it is important for UCO students to not only be aware of things happening around campus, but in the world as well. 

“Everything impacts your life. Our whole society is stitched together by world events, whether those world events are happening thousands of miles away or they’re happening here,” said Lang. 

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