OPINION: More people should read the newspaper

Media, current events literacy is highly important especially today



It’s highly important to be aware of what’s going on, and reading the newspaper is the best way to do that.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen managing editor

Many would rather use the newspaper as bedding for their hamster than read it these days — let alone spend money on one when they could stay updated to their satisfaction through Facebook. But it is the purely-journalistic aspect of a newspaper that provides the unbiased news that we need to be informed about.

They maintain the ideal of truthfulness — even when social media has come under fire again and again for manipulating our perceptions of the world. So why don’t we read the newspaper anymore? Is it impeding our intelligence and our connection to the world around us?

Nathan Richardson, junior kinesiology major, started reading the newspaper when he was in high school. Now at WSU, Richardson works as a volunteer firefighter for the Pullman Fire Department.

“Especially working with a lot of the career guys, it’s a pretty big talking point for local politics and things like that that are going on … it helps me stay informed on what’s going on in the area,” Richardson said.

For some, staying up-to-date on local news is enough. However, if worldwide current events are what you’re looking for, social media is often the most convenient source — even if it can be the most prejudiced.

“You’re already gonna be on your phone and on social media so when people post informative things, it’s easier to just click on things people post rather than go out of your way to look at the news,” Richardson said.

Though social media may not be the most reliable place to get news updates, it’s a move in the right direction that people are seeking these outlets out at all.

The reliance on journalism sources like the newspaper has been in a downswing for some time, but journalism itself has not stopped.

“I’ve seen an upswing in good, solid local reporting from individuals not associated with a particular news organization,” Beth Hindman, associate professor of communication, wrote in an email.

This is a promising aspect of the journalism community: it is flexible to change and growth. Its purpose is one of the most important in our society.

“Citizens need access to clear and quality information about government at all levels,” Hindman wrote. “That information is still there, but definitely can be drowned out.”

So how do we manage to sift through the media that drowns out important information? We put in the work. At this time in our lives, many students feel as though they are in a bubble. Many don’t educate themselves on politics or world affairs, and most of us don’t even know how to pay taxes or how credit cards work. Everything seems so far out of our reach — almost like we need not bother with it until it’s necessary.

But as the political, social and environmental climates in our world creep quickly in on this haze of indifference, we can hardly call our lack of education youthful bliss. The newspaper is one way to fight our inadequate education on current events.

“Our whole system of government is based on the idea that citizens will have access to good, reliable information so that we can make good public policy choices,” Hindman wrote. “That’s one of the key reasons we protect the press in our Constitution. But again, it is our obligation as citizens to seek out that information.”

We should all be putting this constitutionally-protected right to good use by reading the newspaper. It is imperative that we learn about local and national-level current events. Especially at this time in our country, young people are the most influential demographic. We must prioritize our own education if we hope to make a lasting impact on our country.