“What is he talking about?” “I had never heard about that.” “Wait, that happened here? When?” These are just a few of the statements that most teachers have heard when they mention something that has occurred in the news. That or utter silence. As for students who do keep up with news stories regularly it can be frustrating to try and discuss a major news story, international, national, or local, and most people look at them with utter confusion.
Whether the story is based in Kokomo or Saudi Arabia or Hong Kong, it will affect not only the natives of those areas, but everyone else in some capacity. Just a disclaimer for those who think news is not at all important or just local news affects you: that is false. Everything that happens in this world affects you, your friends, family, classmates either now or in the future.
“No man is an island”, Mrs. Carol Kazmierczak said. “You have to pay attention to what is going on in the news because it will affect you at some point.” Ms. Kristie Kasey agrees saying “Burying your head in the sand does not protect you.”
When asked about what is it like as a teacher to hear that students do not keep up with current events Mrs. Kazmierczak finds it “crazy”.
Ms. Kasey said that, “it has always been this way. If somebody does not think that it will not affect them, they will not read it.”
The problem is that everything that happens in the world will have an effect on this generation and those to come. Considering this generation is inching closer and closer to running this country and an overwhelming amount have no idea what is going on locally, how will this country survive dealing with international relations? Hint: not incredibly well.
Sophomore Summer Voorhies said, “I do not really keep up with the news regularly, but there are times where I find a story interesting that I hear on T.V. and I pay attention to that.”
Junior Andrew Holmes reiterated Voorhies remarks saying, “I never really watch the news, but I do catch some things every once in a while when my mom watches and if something interests me then I watch. I usually just catch bits and pieces.” This is pretty common when talking with teenagers about how they consume news. Social media is a major “news source” that most young people rely on.
Mrs. Kazmierczak shared some advice when choosing where consumers should get their news. “Be a critical thinker when it comes to choosing your media source. Never solely rely on Facebook or Twitter for accurate and unbiased media.”
There are numerous ways to read about and/or watch current events. On a few email websites there are news stories topics ranging from world news to health to business amongst other things. Ms. Kasey said, “Students do not have to spend a lot of time reading a ton of articles.” Mrs. Kazmierczak recommends taking news from BBC saying “[BBC] does an incredible job of sharing unbiased news stories and they cover varied topics and are very credible.” News is not only found online or through television, there is still printed news. The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Indy Star and The Lebanon Reporter are just a few examples of printed newspapers that students can get their hands on.
There are countless opportunities for current events to be brought into the classroom as well. Teachers, especially those from the social studies department, try to include them into their classrooms. “The social studies department is constantly discussing current events and how we can relate them to our curriculum,” Ms. Kasey said. Having these discussions during class actually enhances your learning and understanding. These discussions are not just to fill dead space in the classroom, they are meant to help further educate students and can help relate the events that are occurring to ones that have happened in the past and how the world has evolved are changed since then. “Citizens need to know history in order to understand most current events and we also need to know current events in order to understand history,” Ms. Kasey claimed.
LHS also has both online and televised news. The Pennant and The Tiger News Network informs students on local and school news. The Pennant staff strives to tell the stories of students and tell the stories that the student body cares about, all the while informing students on what is happening within the world.
The intent of the news media is meant to inform you, not bore you. Admittedly, there are times where certain news stories can be a bit bland, but there is still a story that needs to be told there. Keeping up with the events of the world does not make anyone a “nerd” or “know-it-all” or a “bore”, it is a smart move. The more informed you are, the less likely you are to fall for false media stories. If you never stay informed how will you know what is real and what is a lie? No one is saying for every person at LHS to watch the news every day when you wake up and again before you go to sleep and read twenty articles a day, but try and make it a habit to find a story a day or every couple of days that is over something you are interested in.
News is not going away anytime soon and as a teen it may be hard to see the significance of knowing these stories when you have so many other priorities, but it is important to stay informed. The United States will be electing a president in two months and if all you know about the candidates is what they tweet and memes that are made about them, how do you know if they are the right candidate?
Being up-to-date in the world of news will make you a better individual and helps your overall understanding of the world. Challenge yourself to be better educated on how this world we live in works and why certain things happen. It will help not just you, but others around you.