Paying attention to media more important than ever

Why news engagement matters, plays a significant role in current state of society

Oct. 3 was no ordinary day for the faculty of the Pulliam School of Journalism. 

It was News Engagement Day, which encourages citizens to spend critical time reading, watching, discussing and analyzing available news in remembrance of its crucial role in our society. 

“Journalists are the heroes of our society,” public relations professor Ray Begovich said. “But they get attacked. When there are lists of respected professions, journalists tend to rank at the bottom. I think that’s a problem.” 

From the good and the bad, the fake and the true, news is important to American life. There is no doubt that, in any establishment of democracy, the concept of a free and protected press is crucial in maintaining a healthy marketplace of ideas. A democratic system itself is centered around the idea that thoughts should be shared freely, across generations and across all deviations of ideology and culture. 

Today, however, with a president who labels many of our primary sources of information as “fake,” without credible (or, often, coherent) defense, this open exchange of thought is endangered. For that reason, the worth and importance of news carries additional weight. 

While many of us hail the First Amendment as a crowning achievement of our country, actions made by our leaders and a lack of response and investment from the people is drastically negating the importance of the press. 

The work journalists do is important to preserving history, establishing cultural norms and determining how we discuss and solve the greatest issues plaguing our society. 

There are methods, however, of combating this apathy and regaining a sincere interest and investment in the news media. 

I agree with the suggestions of Begovich, who recommends that more students should “get ink on their hands,” or engage themselves with physical, credible print media like magazines and newspapers. 

While digital media can provide us with 24/7 access and informational updates, it is essential that we not forget the cultural importance of in-depth, “old fashioned” print media. Journalists who contribute their precious time and resources to the existence of the print media, a now ailing sector of the industry, do not write purely for recreation or self-fulfillment. 

The majority of those who write—for usually little pay—for these outlets do so purely because they recognize the impact and need for authentic and accurate journalism. As an aspiring journalist, I can attest to the effort and intent that one must expend daily in creating written stories. The work isn’t easy, and the compensation is minimal. 

The work journalists do is important to preserving history, establishing cultural norms and determining how we discuss and solve the greatest issues plaguing our society. 

While they are tasked with representing and improving the state of our lives as an audience, we must uphold our end of the bargain and reciprocate care and criticism to build a stronger, more communicative state.

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About Erica Irish 17 Articles

Erica Irish is a reporter and photographer for The Franklin. She is a double-major in Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations and plans to minor in Political Science. As a lifelong writer and observer of the world, Erica spends most of her days wandering local cities while taking photos and listening to the stories of those around her. A coffee connoisseur and vegetarian, Erica balances a lack of physical activity with a healthy love of needless food-based aesthetics and competitive library scouting.

This is Erica’s first year on The Franklin staff.

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