Reading the news should be more than just a phase!

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Even though I debated in high school, reading the news still felt like an obligation. I’d skim headlines, getting a vague idea of what was happening in the world, but I’d forget the facts after every tournament and only refresh myself before the next one, educating myself for the sole purpose of increasing my likelihood of winning.

Bringing in real world examples into your analysis in your rebuttals is very persuasive, and I understood that.

Coming to college, however, has changed my stance on current events. Here, I’m surrounded by passionate activist groups, as well as participating in discussions (inside and outside of classrooms) where everyone is contributing opinions based on news that happened that morning.

And here I am, unclear about what’s happening abroad. If anything, on many of these issues, I can recite a few headlines but I can’t adequately take a side or even contribute anything meaningful to discussions.

A great deal of my peers are not only aware, but actively voicing their opinion about news, and as a result, they are more educated and understanding because of it.

We often get caught up in a never-ending list of things to do in college, so that even if we intend to read the news, it never reaches the floor of Congress because new pieces of legislation like “apply for internship” or “write the paper” always pop up.

They seem more pressing and immediate, and the results are instantaneous. Thus, if you’re an individual who reads the news simply because you feel an obligation to do so, you’ll slowly start to lose motivation because you aren’t seeing any benefits resulting from your efforts.

Those that regularly read the news do so because they are genuinely interested; the objective then, is to legitimately cultivate an interest in current events.

These issues are relevant and important to our lives, no matter who we are, what we’re studying, and what path our lives are following.

Engineers and mathematicians too; they’re people just like you and I.

News-reporting originated because people cared and wanted to know.

Journalists sometimes read the news simply to stay updated, because it’s practically part of their job description. They should grow some emotional glands and read the news because it’s also relevant and important to their lives.

It was announced in my journalism class that weekly quizzes would be given on important current events that covered all sorts of topics: religion, sports, international, local, you name it.

I immediately headed to Google News and started reading the day’s top news stories. Pretty soon, however, I was bogged down in all of the names that I did not recognize, and the numbers which meant very little to me. The whole process was also very time-consuming.

My friend Natalie suggested that I subscribe for a daily newsletter called TheSkimm, started by two women working at NBC, targeted towards women living in the millennium age who not only care about the world, but want to learn about it, while still managing their full schedules. Thus, TheSkimm was born, which is sent out very early every weekday morning to each subscriber’s inbox.

The newsletter formatting is genius, offering enough details about important worldly events that the reader is getting much more out of their reading than if they had just skimmed the headlines. It also offers links to actual news articles in every section, so that if the reader were genuinely curious, they could get more details by simply clicking on a link.

TheSkimm is effortless and quick, and I read it every morning when I brush my teeth. Seems totally great, but I would argue that subscribing to something like TheSkimm, or The 10-Point (a daily email blast from the Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal Gerard Baker) or The Economist Espresso (the editors of The Economist send out a daily blast through smartphone or email) or anything else is just a first step to getting engaged with important global issues. You have to read more than just an article about a current event, otherwise you’re getting your news solely through the words of one measly journalist.

The ideal solution would be to not only read as many articles as you could to get a well-rounded perspective on worldly events, but also to get out of bed (noooo) and talk to people about them. Bring these issues up in daily conversations with friends, ask your professors what they think, and start chatting with a stranger on the bus (if you’re ambitious enough). The toughest part is actually making an effort to do this, I promise.

At a school like Northwestern, I constantly find myself grateful because of the aforementioned discussions between intellectuals who not only come from all sorts of backgrounds, but also are educated and worldly enough to have an interesting opinion. And over dinner, we have civil discussions about controversial issues. We talk history, morality, and society. And I absolutely love it.

By the way, thanks to my friend Harrison for telling me about most of these awesome news sources!

What’s your relationship to current events like?

One comment

  1. c.a.t.

    I totally agree – I feel like more people (including myself) need to read the newspaper and this excuse that they’ve got “no time” is a little ridiculous. Reading the news while you’re brushing your teeth is a great start to narrowing down how much time you waste and if you don’t “got time”, then make it.

    Liked by 1 person

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