By AUTUMN ROBERTSON
The Ebola scare has gotten worse than ever and the news media are only adding lumber to the fire.
Saying the word ‘Ebola” around a large group of people might as well be the same as someone saying “Bomb!” in a movie theater. That word evokes so much fear among American citizens more than ever due to the recent discovery of Americans who have recently contacted the disease.
And what’s the news media’s role in this? They find every story about someone who has contacted the disease, write a story highlighting the name of the person, the area that they are from, how many people that they may have become in contact with, and continue to scare people.
People argue that the reporters are just doing their job, but I beg to differ. The news media’s job isn’t to scare people, but to inform people on what the disease is and how they can actually contact it.
As the number of affected Americans continue to rise, more federal health organizations continue to release information on how the disease is spread because large media groups fail to include how getting Ebola can actually happen.
This goes back to a common tactic that journalists use to get readership: sensationalism. If journalists think that more people will be interested in reading about a certain issue, they will amplify the story to get more readership. People love to stay informed, but the easiest way to draw in an audience that wants information is to scare them a little, so they can keep coming back for more.
Today, reporters announced that an Ebola patient is being contained at a hospital on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. I know many students that attend Howard, including my sister. Not only is she scared and worried about contacting the disease, her fellow classmates are feeling the same way.
The media failed to include information to these students on why the person is being contained and the safety precautions that the school will be taking to keep the students safe. The media dropped the news like a bomb and people are scattering around for information.
That is not very fair of the news media, which have a platform that they should use to inform rather than to scare. They should focus on creating more material used to help people than creating a scandalous story.