Each year the University of Maryland selects a book to provide a shared intellectual experience for faculty, staff and all first-year students. The First Year Book provides an opportunity for community dialogue on a topic from the perspective of different disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities. This year, the First Year Book committee selected journalist Brooke Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine. Gladstone, perhaps best known as the host of NPR’s “On the Media,” built a career covering the media in all of its intricacies. The book considers the role of “objectivity” and bias in the media, observing that we use social media to filter and make sense of what we hear from traditional journalism sources

Discuss a time when you witnessed the impact of citizen journalism in your community. What did this event teach you about the potential for an individual to influence public opinion?