This story was written by Samantha Cossick, The Daily Athenaeum
Every four years, college students take part in the presidential election for the first time.Through gaining knowledge about the candidates and the issues of the election, students can make informed decisions.Ryann Phillips, a West Virginia University junior accounting major, said she receives most of her information about the election through CNN and Fox News. Phillips said she chooses the two because one network leans more right while the other is more left-winged.Phillips said that she also reads the newspapers and looks online at polls to get information. By knowing the different topics and how each candidate feels about them, Phillips said she feels well-informed about her decision come Tuesday.But she believes that America as a wholecould learn more.I dont think theyre very well-informed because its back and forth bickering, and you dont know whats true or not, Phillips said.Freshmen engineering majors Brandon Langley and Chris Rombold both said they prefer CNN to get information about the election because it is thorough and delivers the news quickly.Although both plan to vote, they said they have not done any other research about the candidates aside from watching the news.The two also differ in their opinions of how informed America is. Langley said that this election is more commercialized and has reached out to a lot more voters, allowing them to be more informed. Rombold said that since the news media tends to be biased, it is hard to say if people are informed or not because most of what they hear is partisan.Sarah Freed, a junior sports management major, said she relies on Fox News for her information because it is news that is more republican-based, and her family has always watches it.Freed said she has also watched the debates in order learn more about the election. She feels informed enough to make an acceptable decision.I think (were) better informed this election but not near to being well-informed, Freed said about voters.Freshman forensics major Alycia Knepp said that although she plans on voting this election, she has not done much research about the election and instead relies on the fliers sent in the mail and information she obtained from a former boss who follows politics closely.Knepp said that she is busy with school and that is her top priority, but that as far as the two presidential candidates go, she doesnt feel that shed be more informed if she watched the debates or commercials because all they do is bash each other.As for how informed America is, Knepp said it depends on how closely everyone follows events like the debates. She said that she feels the older baby boomer generation is more informed than most college students are.According to a 2008 survey report done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Organization, although television is the main source of election news for 60 percent of people, the Internet as a news source has increased amongst young people.Fully 42 percent of those ages 18 to 29 say they regularly learn about the campaign from the Internet, the highest percentage for any news source, the report read.The most commonly cited Internet news sources were 26 percent for MSNBC, 23 percent for CNN and 22 percent for Yahoo! News.However, many young adults have also cited sources such as The Drudge Report, MySpace and Facebook. The report stated that about 27 percent of young adults under the age of 30, including 37 percent of 18 to 24 year olds, have received information about the election from social networking sites.