News matters, regardless of medium, advocates say

By LaQuayle Agurs

Journalists around the world have strategically created a day to make news consumption important in society again.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) initiated "National News Engagement Day" on Oct. 6, a day that will be dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to become a news conscious society.

Along with AEJMC's mission to inform others, it is the association's hope that the people will also discover the benefit and pertinence of news; especially young people.

According to recent Pew Research Center research, the biennial news consumption survey called 29 percent of young people, "newsless." The research revealed that not only is news consumption at a minimum for Millennials, but many of them are not receiving any news at all.

"That research doesn't surprise me," said Kala Easter, a junior kinesiology major from Richmond, Va. "I don't read the news unless a lot of people on social media are talking about something in particular. Then I'll go do my research. But I never take it upon myself to open my news apps just to see what's going on."

Paula Poindexter, the president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, assents to Easter's and other Millennials usage of social media for gathering news.

"The Millennial generation is unlike any generation. Not only is the Millennial generation the most educated and the most diverse, it grew up on the Internet and came of age on social media, mobile devices, and apps. Engaging in news is simply not a priority in this generation's lives," stated Poindexter in an article entitled, "Is News Engagement Endangered?"

Devon Bonnick, a senior English major from Miami said, "I don't feel as though our engagement in the news is endangered. Endangered would be at the risk of extinction and I don't believe that is the case at all. We just prefer to get our news from social media and news apps instead of newspapers. And I don't think older generations appreciate that."

According to the American Press Institute, about 60 percent of people continue to read printed newspapers, a decline from 87 percent of the population in 1964.

Although reading a print newspaper is not the primary news source for young people, ReGine Rhine, a junior business major and a Los Angeles native, explained how the Los Angeles Times affected her appreciation for news.

"My 90-year-old great-grandmother lives with my family and she read the Los Angeles Times faithfully. She can't read it anymore because she's older, but when I was a little girl, I use to sit on her lap all of the time and help her read the stories.

"So now, any time I see a copy of the paper, I pick it up and read it because it's been instilled in me for so long."

People in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and five countries have already pledged their participation in National News Engagement Day. It is safe to say that this day is allowing people to embrace the importance of news, regardless of the medium.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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