Pay attention to news, current issues

By: CHRIS ZIMMER – Columnist, Junior

Over the summer I was at a friend’s house channel surfing before heading to Fifth Third Field to catch a Dayton Dragons game. We stumbled upon a re-run for the prior night’s “The Daily Show” with John Stewart. I was cracking up at his joke that the massive wave of Hispanic youth running across the border was a part of Michelle Obama’s “Get Up and Move!” campaign. I turned to my friends and asked, “Do you not think that’s funny?” They said, “We literally have no idea what he is talking about. I’m sure we’ll pay attention to that kind of stuff when we get older.”

Believing you’re too young for the news is ridiculous and foolish. However, our generation has received a bad rap for not staying up-to-date on current events, and not just headlines from “The Daily Show,” “Colbert Report” or tweets. There’s so much going on our hometowns, states, country and world. However, this is a new semester, a new year, and for freshmen, a new milestone in their lives. So if reading, listening, or watching the news isn’t your thing – you might want to reconsider making it a habit after this:

It’s necessary for us to climb-the-ladder.

Let’s think about it. Will a boss be more impressed with a young new hire who can talk about news, research, and even gossip within their industry, or the other guy who can say how many slam dunks LeBron had last night, or which NFL coach is on the hot seat? Sure, sports can lead to a great conversation at the golf course or at a luncheon, but for the newbie at the office, it might just remind your boss of their middle school children.

It’s an American right and duty.

Yes, freedom of the press is in the first amendment of the Constitution, and given it being an election year for states it’s crucial we make the most informed decisions as possible when electing a person, or standing with/against an issue. Trust me, no one is going to take you seriously if you say you’re voting this way or that way based on campaign ads. Just do a little research and show up at the polls. To this day there are still many countries where these two things are limited in one way or another.

It’s an act of solidarity.

Yes, reading about Israel and Hamas fighting over the Holy Land, or watching the Islamic State tear apart the Middle East isn’t as joyous as a weekend in the Ghetto, but it makes us think about people in places on the opposite end of our comfort-zone spectrum. It reminds us that we’re lucky to live in a land as free as ours.

It’s easy, and there’s no excuse.

Back in our parent’s day, there were some legitimate reasons not to be informed. There were more illiterates, they had to buy newspapers, listen to the radio, and maybe watch a TV if they could afford one. With the creation of the Internet, personal computers, and smart phones decades later, we’re literally a few clicks and swipes away from the news.

It’s fun. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but reading a new and compelling story (such as “The NSA Files” from The Guardian) or getting updates on crises (like the Ferguson shooting and protests) keeps me on the edge, waiting to see what will happen next.

So give it a try this semester. Maybe it’ll stick.


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