A new report by the Pew Research Center looks at how we get and use news. It shows that most of us rely on multiple platforms for our daily dose of news. Nearly half of us get our news from 4 - 6 different places on a typical day.
Personalization can be a great time-saver, helping direct you to stories on subjects of interest. It can filter out all the stuff you don't care to see.
The great thing about newspapers -- dinosaurs though they might be -- is that the reader sees the full range of subjects. The front page won't be only sports or entertainment or politics or business, but a mix of what the editors feel represent the most important or relevant information of the day. Even if you normally make a beeline for the sports section, your eye might catch a non-sports story on Page One or elsewhere as you quickly leaf through the paper. TV news is similar; if you watch a half-hour newscast, you'll get a smattering of a range of topics.To rely solely on personalized news feeds would be like watching only Entertainment Tonight or The Food Channel and nothing else for news and information. It may be interesting, but it would be like wearing blinders.
I have a friend who, before the days of the internet, personalized her news intake by reading only Page Six of the NY Post and the entertainment and gossip magazines like Entertainment Weekly and People. She never read The Times and, when reading The Post, would venture beyond the gossip pages only to check out how the Mets were doing in Sports.
I remember when she was job hunting and she told me of some questions she was asked in an interview, like who is the Secretary of State and what Supreme Court nominee had just gone through a grueling Congressional interview process. She didn't know the answers, and she didn't get the job.
My friend's limited knowledge of current events beyond gossip and sports may be the exception, but I wonder how many young people who haven't grown up reading newspapers or watching TV news are already in the habit of personalizing their news intake to the point of severely limiting their awareness and understanding of what's happening in the world around us. As we know, an uninformed population can open the door for political and corporate corruption and decisions based on narrow self-interest.
That could be the downside of personalized news.