Why read the news?

-James Osborne

I believe staying informed about local current events, national news, and world news is extremely important. Not just casually glancing at the headlines in our social media news feeds, but really being curious and seeking information about what is going on in the world. I might be a bit biased since I’m a journalism major and the current news editor of the Collegian, but I believe that everyone has a responsibility to stay informed about the world around them.

There are many excuses that may seem to be valid like “I don’t have the time,” “The news is too depressing,” “You can’t trust the press, everyone is so biased,” or “if it doesn’t affect me personally why should I care?” But all of these excuses are not enough reason to not have some curiosity and seek information about the world around us. In today’s digital age we don’t have an excuse for not being able to know the news. With just a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse or on our smartphones, we can instantly find important or just interesting information about local and world news.

Staying informed about the news is part of my job as a journalist, yet I still fall short of staying well informed like I need to be. I love movies and science fiction, so I stay informed with entertainment news more than regular news, like I should. I have had some jobs where part of my responsibility was to know what is happening in the community and because of that, I have had a deeper respect for where I live and the interesting events in the community and the people who make it happen. I’m thankful for my journalism classes and some of the different jobs I’ve had that force me to stay informed and to know what is going on in the world, but there are several reasons why I think everyone needs to keep up with current events.

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            Other countries and the problems they go through seem so far away from us, but we are all connected as citizens of planet Earth, and the terrors and problems in one land can easily influence or head to another land. What happens to one country can easily happen to us here in America, maybe not instantly, but over time.

One big reason to stay informed is to have something to talk about with the people around you and to be able to add to the conversation “around the water cooler” at school and work. Stories from the news are great conversation starters and good for small talk and can even be a way to dive into deeper conversation. Be able to know what is happening around you and in the world—not to look smart, but to be smart about what is going on in the world.

Besides being able to be a smarter conversationalist, watching or reading the news can help you be more informed about your chosen industry or career and the events that may influence those types of careers. Being well informed and curious about the world around you can make you more attractive to employers.

If we don’t know the troubles of the world and especially those close to us, we won’t know how we can personally make a difference and seek to do good in the world. We can’t know what to pray about outside our own network if we don’t look beyond it and seek what we can pray about for the world. We can’t find new ways to serve those in the world if we don’t seek out the needs and the problems that we might be able to help fix.

Also, current events are history in the making, and just like in learning history, we can seek and find wisdom from the good and the bad. It has been said that the average life span of a civilization is 200 years. The United States of America is over 200 years old, and it is up to the people of the country to be watchful and make sure that this country does not make the mistakes of past civilizations or be affected by the same things that destroyed civilizations like the Roman Empire. If people want to vote and be involved in the political process, then a knowledge of current events should be mandatory.

Ben Carson reminded people at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 that the American system of government was created by the founding fathers for a well-informed and educated populace, but when the public becomes less informed, they become vulnerable. If people are not educated, then they are more easily manipulated. To be a successful country we have to not only be educated and well-informed, but care about what is going on around us.

In the Christian community there is often the view that Christians have a responsibility to watch the news and seek to understand world events because of biblical prophecy about Christ’s second coming. Mark 13:33-37 (NLT) says, “And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves’ instructions about the work they were to do and he told the gate keeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return- in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for Him!”

Let us be curious and to stomp out apathy. We have the time and the means to stay informed and educated. For these and many more reasons, we should seek to stay informed about the news and the world around us.

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