“Michael, how would you answer this writing task that I saw on the actual TOEFL exam?”

Question: I have a question..last time I took the toefl a few months ago, I got a writing question similar to this:

If you can choose a news media like the tv, radio, or social media, which one will you choose? Explain the reasons and details of your choice.

How will you answer that in the writing task and also in the speaking.. should I mention each of them?? Or just focus in one?? Thank you

Answer: In answering this writing task, Diana, I would choose one of the news media sources and, using three reasons, explain why. I would mention the two that I don’t like in the introduction as counter arguments leading into my personal preference. Read the essay below, which is a model answer of this very question.

Topic: If you can choose a news media like the tv, radio, or social media which one will you choose? Explain the reasons and details of your choice.

Often, many types of events such as earthquakes, political elections, crimes, and so on occur. When these incidents happen, various news outlets inform the public on what is happening. How people hear about these events depends on what type of news they tend to rely on. Some people are attached to their smart phones and other electronic devices, so they may prefer to get their news from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These electronic devices have applications which make it convenient to get news and updates as they occur. Others prefer to get their news from radio since they are very busy and get their news conveniently by listening to the radio as they commute to and from work each day. Despite the advantages getting news from social media and radio, I prefer to get my news from the television since I have more control of the news source, I am more of a visual learner, and the news is likely to be more accurate.

Television is a great outlet for news since I have complete control over how I get my news. For example, if I want factual news without bias, I can choose the nightly news from NBC, ABC, or CBS. These news programs tend to be mostly factual without any bias, so I can get the facts without anyone’s opinion, which is especially important when it comes to political news. However, sometimes I want to watch news that is either democratically or republican slanted, and, in these cases, I can tune into MSNBC or Fox news, both of which slant toward democratic and republican views. Therefore, I feel like television gives more a lot of control over which news stations I want to view.

In addition, I also favor television as a news source because I am more of a visual learner. For example, a few years ago when NBC nightly news was reporting the British Petroleum oil spill off the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana, the program showed video of the oil spill by helicopter so that viewers could understand the scope of the problem. Rather than reading or listening to this problem, I effectively was able to learn about the oil spill since visual learning is the best way my brain prefers to receive information. In addition, on television, I can watch the reporters and the interviewees as they discuss the news, and the body language from these people give me clues as to their own emotions and opinions. To illustrate, I could tell from watching the NBC nightly news reporter’s eyes that the BP oil spill was a very serious disaster that would wreak catastrophic effects on the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico for many years to come.

Finally, I prefer television news as my primary news source because it tends to be more accurate than radio or social media news. For example, before news is reported on NBC, ABC, or CBS, the journalists have ethical obligations to confirm the veracity of their stories before they report them. In fact, even though television journalists accept news from anonymous sources, these reporters will need to confirm the story with an additional source before they will report it on television. In addition, sometimes news is misreported, and television news programs will in a later broadcast correct an error or fact that they may have reported in a previous news broadcast. Hence, I have been watching television news for a few years already, and I feel comfortable that for the most part, these news programs report information accurately and without bias, at least if it is a hard news type of program.

To sum up, even though I do use radio and social media for news, I believe that television news offers me more control over what I watch, video complements my personal learning style, and television news tends to report incidents accurately and fairly.

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