Media holds an important place in society because it informs the public about what is going on in the world. Journalists exist to share stories and bring greater access to the truth when it might otherwise be obscured or unknowable.
When it comes to reporting, President Donald Trump likes to call anything he disagrees with “fake news” and attempts to persuade people that the media’s only purpose is to spread lies about him.
There are many people who would seemingly agree with Trump, believing that the mainstream news is just propaganda designed to persuade people into believing a narrative that is not necessarily the whole truth. People dismiss the media because of this.
I know that I have dismissed media because I have disagreed with a writer’s perspective, found their view offensive, or felt a lack of representation in the media. These incidents have allowed me to discredit the media based off of a few negative experiences.
But dismissing the media as worthless is a dangerous reaction to disagreement. Acknowledging the media and engaging with it in order to stay informed is essential to being a good citizen.
We have an obligation to stay informed, to understand the injustices happening around us and take full advantage of the ability we have to be aware.
A saying I hear often is that “We have the world at our fingertips,” meaning that we can garner seemingly any information at any time due to the technology we have available.
But even though this is possible, there is still a significant amount of ignorance and apathy surrounding the news and current events.
Many people do not feel the need to read about world events since they feel it does not directly affect them. Or some people simply do not care because they can not do anything about it. What goes on around the world affects everyone even if sometimes we do not directly see the impact, it is still there.
Also how are we supposed to form informed opinions on situations if we don’t actually know what is going on?
I don’t expect everyone to turn on the morning news every day and research all hours of the night. But reading articles on a news website, watching events and researching a little can help. The more people who know what is going on, the more people who tend to care and can then create change.
You are not going to intrinsically care about something if it does not exist in your world of knowledge. Further, the media only focuses on things people will listen to, which means other important events that happen are ignored and unaddressed simply because no one knew about it.
As people in a democracy, we have the power to change how our society operates, and we have the ability to draw attention to things that really matter.
Sometimes it is easier to ignore the news because one can only take so much of it; one can only take so much of the pain or evilness that often comes with staying inform.
But we have to take that pain and evilness that exist in our world and turn it into a will for change. Change will only happen if we care to stay inform and take action with the information we are given.
Since we have the privilege of living in a free society, we have an obligation to know what is occurring within it and stand up for those who are forgotten.
As students at Seattle Pacific University, we have access to free news sources, expert faculty and the experiences of our peers. We have an obligation to care about the world around us, and a calling to create change where necessary.
To do this, we must stay informed so that we can be aware of what is going on around us to know where we are needed, and what we can do to leave the world better than we found it.