Reading the newspaper may seem a bit outdated in the electronic age. With the internet, television, and smartphones, current events have never been more accessible. Nevertheless, according to the American Press Institute, only one-third of all young people actually pick up a newspaper. Furthermore, many teens dedicate most of their time on social networks, playing games, e-mail, and video sites rather than online news networks. According to the same study, many teens spend less than five minutes a day reading an actual newspaper or browsing online news.
This is a startling statistic, especially when one thinks about our fast-moving world. Events are occurring all around the globe, every second of the day. For teens, being aware of the latest happenings is an important habit; reading the news broadens your horizons, keeps you in touch with reality, and can also be very interesting.
I will admit that there was a time when the news did not interest me. Most headlines did not seem to affect me. If an event did not happen locally, it probably was not worth knowing about. My dose of current events came in conversations with family and friends. The exchange usually went a little like: “Did you hear about so-and-so happening in so-and-so?” “Nope, but now I have.”
I have started to realize how important it is to be aware of current events. The more we know about the world around us, the faster we can move forward and respond appropriately to the changes in our society. My first real taste of the news came when I started clicking on the news tab on my homepage search engine. I stumbled upon a page that provided a summary of all types of news on various topics. The headlines were provided along with a brief description of the event. As I read through the page, I was shocked by the range of events happening in the world. So much was going on in our country, in other countries, and in the scientific world.
My small taste of current events was a huge reality check that was as fascinating as it was shocking. Several headlines whetted my interest and prompted me to read the entire articles. At first, my interest was relatively narrow. I preferred reading entertainment pieces and New York City news instead of stories about international affairs and the economy. Nevertheless, as checking up on the news became a daily routine, my interest slowly began to broaden. I soon found myself curious about other topics. I never would’ve guessed I would read through an article about Wall Street!
I definitely became more knowledgeable from reading the news, but at the same time, I was a bit uneasy. With stories about terrorism, war, heinous crimes, and natural disasters, the news isn’t always rated PG. I came across stories that I would’ve rather not known about. Sometimes, I was even frightened by the disturbing events happening around me. I was especially concerned by how commonplace these events were in society.
I’ve slowly overcome my fear and regained faith in humanity. It is always a pleasure to read a story about one who saved another’s life or someone who had a lucky break. Newspapers are businesses and like all enterprises, they need to sell their stories. Sensational news of startling events always attracts more attention than a heartfelt, feel-good story.
I have learned that keeping up with the news does not have to be an arduous task. There are so many free sources that offer quick coverage on the most important stories. For teens, the internet is an effective source for the news. Many newspapers can be found online. Popular search engines also provide their own stories. I just make sure the article is coming from a trusted news provider, such as a local newspaper or TV station.
Staying up-to-date with current events is our responsibility. We are expected to know of the latest happenings so that we can respond accordingly to them. Without the news, we would be vulnerable and narrow-minded. We wouldn’t know what is happening in other parts of the country or world. For young people, reading the news allows us to learn more about our world, be informed future voters, and prepare for the future. The news offers many lessons about the qualms of society that we, as the future generation, can help fix when we are older. Knowing about our world keeps us connected and allows us to progress.
Aglaia Ho is a 17-year-old student from Queens who enjoys writing. Her work has been published in Creative Kids, Skipping Stones, Daily News-Children’s Pressline, and The State of the Wild.