A stack of newspapers blow in the wind on a football in Iowa City on Sep. 10, 2016. The Hawkeyes defeated the Iowa State Cyclones, 42-3 for their second win of the season. (The Daily Iowan/Brooklynn Kascel)

Shanahan: Inform yourself to inform others

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More young adults should be keeping better updated with the news in order to make well-informed opinions.

Julia Shanahan

julia-shanahan@uiowa.edu

Reading the news when I wake up in the morning is automatic for me, being that I’m a journalism student and that it was always a topic of conversation in my house. It’s important to me to know what is going on in my community and in the world.

After recent conversations with friends, I’ve realized that not every teenager has this habit. In fact, many said the news has become too upsetting or sad to read, so they choose not to read it altogether.

According to the American Press Institute, fewer than half of millennials pay for at least one news-specific service or subscription, and they only follow five or more “hard news” topics on social media. This poses a problem, as bias or false news accounts are all too easy to come across on social-media platforms.

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More young adults should keep updated on current events, regardless of how heavy, and should read or listen to credible news sources.

It is important now more than ever that this up and coming generation is able to construct well-informed opinions on controversial events. We are the new generation that is going to look for jobs in whatever economy or atmosphere our president leaves for us, and we must be aware of the basic politics our state is in.

It’s no coincidence that most of these disagreements happen on Twitter, our president’s favorite social-media platform, but also that many celebrities have taken their opinions online as well. Commentary like this is being laid out in front us all the time, which makes it easy for others to chime in.

While Twitter and Snapchat provide diverse and convenient outlets for people to get their news, it’s often easy to read misleading information. There is a plethora of unverified accounts that tweet information and statistics without any attribution. Yes, social media can be great for being able to see different perspectives on a current event or political dispute. However, they are not good primary, informative sources.

With so many trivial and unprecedented events in the news, social-media users also must be well-informed before retweeting or creating an opinion on controversial topics. There are countless mindless arguments in political tweets that could be easily avoided, or at least contained, if people were made more aware of facts.

President Trump’s consistent attacks on the media since he has taken office do not help the reputations of journalists who are trying to report and deliver fact-checked news stories and editorials. He recently said at a rally in Phoenix that journalists are “sick people” who are “trying to take away our history and our heritage.”

For many, this can be discouraging when trying to read certain news sources, because some may question the credibility of the article. This has posed a constant challenge for journalists who are trying to report factual stories, which is crucial to the education of any young adult who is preparing to start a life in this world.

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The bottom line is to make it a habit to be well-informed. Be sure that what you are reading has credible attributions and reporting, because this will be the fine line between “hard news” and “fake news.”

The news can be upsetting, but in order for the millennial generation to be able to turn that around, they must first be educated and aware of what is happening.

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