Different ways of getting the news, news sources, the media, role of media & journalists

IELTS speaking test questions and answers about news and media

Describe different ways of getting the news

You should say:
  • whether you get the news every day
  • if the news is national or international
  • how you get your news (TV, radio, newspaper, internet)
  • how important you think it is to be up to date with news

IELTS speaking | Different ways of getting the news

Nowadays, we probably have more sources of news than ever before. It's always good to have choice and variety. TV news is still the most popular for a lot of people, althoug maybe my generation gets their news more on the internet than through the traditional TV channels. My father still reads the neswpaper every day, that's another source of news, and my grandfather listend to the daily news on the radio. TV, radio, internet, and newspapers are the main ways of getting news.

Of course, it depends on the type of news, but national and international news appears mainly in the press and on TV. Other news would be more personal, for example, a phone call, and email or a letter, in some cases. But that's only personal news.

I tend to see most of the news on the internet. I visit various sites and my friends sometimes send me links to news pages or articles that they think I would be interested in. I watch news videos and read as well, but I don't do it every day, I'm not like my father - he sits down every evening at the same time to watch the news on TV - I usually scan headlines maybe every two or three days, ot if someone mentions something interesting to me then I'll look it up and find out what's happening.

Being up to date with what's happening in the world, your country or even your city I suppose is important, more important for some people than others, because you could still live without too many problems if you didn't watch or listen to the news. I mean,a lot of news is international which might never actually affect your life, even some of the national news might not have an impact in your life. But if you are, for example, a CEO in a large multinational company then knowing what's happening might be essential so that you can make good decisions about foreign inveestments and things like that.

[possible follow up questions]

Do you think the information on the internet is reliable?

Generally, yes, just as reliable as the TV news or newspapers provide. Information, rather than news, on the internet - well, there's a lot of it, but you can always find a reputable site and learn what's considered to be good information. There is a lot of rubbish on the internet sometimes, but on the whole,even if you check a couple of sites and they basically say the same thing - then you know it's as reliable as almost any other source of information.

What is the most effective way of getting the news?

The most effective? I suppose that would be by radio or TV if it's live. Reporters can send pictures and commentary instantly in some cases - you can't really get it any quicker than that - as it's happening - in some cases. How effective is it? I think probably the internet is the most effective, ecause a news item on a site can be instantly accessed by almost anyone in the world. TV news programs or newspapers take more time to prepare and organize and many of them do not have global reach.

How do you think reporters gather information?

They do a lot of research, interviews and talk to people. They tend to know people, or have access to people withing organizations, who know what's going on. Obviously it depends on what kind of reporter we're talking aboout - some of them just interview people, either in person or by phone maybe - and that's how they get their information. Other reporters visit places with a camera crew and they see what's happening for themesleves, and then report based on what they have researched and seen.

What do you think of the importance of privacy?

Related to news and things like that? I think if politicians or celebrities or famous people who make their living through the media can't expect to have total privacy in their lives. Clearly, it depends on the type of person they are and what exactly they do - but you can't be, for example, a famous TV personality, and expect to escape the attention of the paparazzi. There have been a lot of scandals though where news reporters and photographers have literally 'invaded' the lives of these poeple though - it can be a fine line sometimes between being interested and actually bothering or irritating someone with intense attention all the time.

How do journalists entertain their readers?

I'm not sure they do. They might report on things, or inform us about things, but entertain - that's not an expression I would normally associate with journalists.

What role does the media play in people's lives?

I think that's a really personal issue. Some people are obsessed by a celebrity, or maybe a music artist or something like that, but other people don't seemto care much about the media. Some people woould argue that the media has lost it's independence, it's no longer impartial, and manipulates information for their own agenda. Most people have an idea that the media exists to inform us, but others think that it is simply a propaganda machine.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of different media?

Okay, so let's start with the internet: it's instant, it's cheap, has global reach and you can listen, watch and read, so I think that's pretty good. I can't really think of a drawback to it. TV is good too, though it's not as global as the internet, and I think it's probably a lot more expensive to produce TV programs than a short video on the internet. Then there's radio, that's not expensive and can reach people in different parts of the world, and it can be instant as well interms of reporting the news - so that's good. The big disadvantage of radio of course, is that it's not visual.

Do you think news coverage should be controlled?

Controlled in what way? If you mean the content, no I don't. Who has the right to control what the people see,read or hear, if it is the truth. Of course it's important to make sure that children aren't exposed to stories of images of extreme vioelnce and things whihch might upset them, but that's the only type of control - a content warning - that I think is necessary.

Is there any kind of news coverage that should be controlled?

Do you mean censored? I don't think censoring is a good idea. people have a right to know the truth, what is really happening. I know it doesn't often happen these days, but censoring is a bad idea.

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