Poor News Consumption Habits Among Students

Last Monday, one of my journalism professors asked the class to record and share our strengths and weaknesses concerning news consumption. That morning, I learned that most students do not properly or effectively consume news.

Many of my classmates’ weaknesses mirrored my own. Like most of the students that shared, I am not an avid news seeker. My personal reasoning for concerning myself with the news is poor. As I listened to my classmates share, I noticed a major theme: we are not concerned with news that does not directly affect us.

I analyzed my own weak- nesses in obtaining news, and compared them to my peers. The similarities were obvious, and two stood out to be most significant:

1. Social Media is our main source for obtaining news

Most timelines are geared towards news that is deemed relatable or interesting to the individual. We sometimes show rigor, in research, when a story goes viral across all social network mediums, and look for further information. However, its only once we find an inter- esting topic that we engage into further research.

We rely on digital mediums like online news sites or tele- vised broadcasts to receive full stories and digest the facts. This has proven to be extremely ef- fective.

For example, the role social media has played in the Black Lives Matter movement, has been unparalleled. Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr have kept millennials up-to-date with inhumane occurrences in the

black community, and encourages them to explore these situations in their entirety.

However, the issue with gathering news from social media, lives in the reality that our timelines are based on the people we follow. When our following is not diverse, we are not gaining diverse news coverage.

2. We are afraid of real news

Many students chose to in- dulge in entertainment news rather than hard news. During the exercise, my classmates expressed a fear of the world around them. They shared that consistently watching or read- ing about homicides, unfair law enforcements, and worldwide poverty would drive them in- sane. Instead, they find comfort in reading about the latest fash- ion trends, new album releases and celebrity gossip. Such top- ics, are easy to digest and do not cause any true trauma to our lives or our thoughts. This escapist tactic to deny reality makes many of us oblivious to major events that indeed affect our daily lives.

The causation for the general disinterest students have towards current news, along with their complimenting aura of apathy is still foreign to me. I am one who follows the theme of being oblivious to news that does not provide an instant in- terest for me. However, I am challenging myself, and you, to change this habit. It is time we time we gain a fascination with the world around us, because every aspect of the news can be connected to our lives.

Jana Shaw – Word Editor

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