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Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.120

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., PhD., Yuki Senoo

239. Characteristics of various information media

Generally, we get information from a variety of media, including newspapers, television, and radio. Further, not only do we get information through those medias mentioned above but also acquire, particularly younger generations, information from Internet searches and such social networking services (SNS) as Twitter and Facebook. There is also a lot of information circulating on the Internet about topics related to radiation.

 Each medium has its own characteristics, in terms of the way it conveys information. For example, whereas television is a visual medium, newspapers transfer information through written words. In the same way, the Internet and SNS have their own advantages and disadvantages.

 One of the features of the Internet and SNS is the speed of information transmission. With newspapers, you have to wait until at least the evening or the next morning for information to be disseminated, except for the extra edition paper, which is published only on rare occasions. On the other hand, the Internet can deliver information anywhere in the world within a few seconds. This feature makes SNS very powerful in terms of emergencies and breaking news.

 On the other hand, as anyone can send out information, the content may be unreliable. Furthermore, even articles have wrong information, which can spread without being verified. Moreover, emotional content, conveying anger and sadness, is known to spread more quickly than logical content on SNS, regardless of its credibility.

 It is essential to know the characteristics of each news medium to efficiently gather credible information related to radiation from different sources.


240. Importance of selecting reliable information using the Internet

 In addition to traditional news media, such as newspapers, TV, and radio, currently, we also get information through the Internet and SNS (social networking services). Each information medium has its own characteristics, and the Internet and SNS have their advantages and disadvantages.

The speed of information transmission characterizes the dissemination of information through the Internet and SNS. Moreover, the Internet and SNS enable access to a wide variety of information. However, at the same time, as information is scattered all over the place, readers are forced to judge the relative reliability and importance of information.

 Of course, all information media have bias, to some extent. Every single media reflects writers' or publishers' intentions and opinions. However, in local newspapers, TV, and radio, local residents select particularly interesting topics that relate to their daily lives and emphasize such topics. On the other hand, the basic principle of the Internet is that it is open and free to anyone.

 Immediately after the 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima, many experts shared various views while there was a lack of information. Once there was a surplus of useful information distributed to the public, there were so many different opinions that many people must have felt confused or anxious due to this flood of information.

 Previous research has suggested that people tend to think that the first thing they hear represents correct information. Further, we tend to believe in the validity of information obtained from our close friends or relatives or overheard from someone, as well as in information with emotional contents.

It is crucial to know each news medium's characteristics, in terms of how they efficiently gather credible information related to radiation from different sources.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 11th and 18th of August 2019 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.