I Never Found The News Important…
But Now I Do.
Going through college, I’ve had many professors who would stress the importance of picking up a newspaper or just flat out being knowledgable about what is going on in the news today. I will admit, that at first, I did not see the need in having to constantly immerse myself into the sea that is news reports. I did try picking up a newspaper, but it just felt so foreign in my hands. It was like holding a stack of oversized paper, and then when you open it, it just turns into a bigger sheet of paper that you are holding out to try to read words that have been typed in the smallest font. It just did not seem like a functional tool for me to have every day. Therefore, at the beginning of college, I gave up on the idea of keeping up with the news. I passively took in news content that came up on my social media feed, so mainly trending topics or something one of my friends had shared.
However, the beginning of 2020 brought about a new election season, and for the first time, I was very conscious of the way I took in news and information about the election this year. I did some research on News Publications and ended up subscribing to The New York Times digital edition, which gives me full access to all the content published on their digital app. For the first time, I was taking in the news actively every day, to keep up with the candidates of the election.
Then the infamous COVID-19 struck New York City, and our lives were thrown into a whirlwind. I found myself mainly taking in information from The New York Times, but for the first time, I was also transfixed by the many different viewpoints different news sources had taken to look at the topic. Specifically, when Mr. Hedlund from the Social Media team for The Wall Street Journal spoke to my college class (also about social media) about how they use their social media to act as a source of information for the public to access.
Specifically, The Wall Street Journal’s Instagram page and their highlights were of interest to me. In contrast to the content I was paying for from The New York Times, I found a new slew of information that I was able to access for free, and that I was way more interested in hearing. The Instagram page of the WSJ highlighted personal accounts of how the COVID-19 epidemic has been affecting people.
There is one highlight dedicated on their page to Gig Workers and how this has been personally effecting actual Gig Workers out in the field today, and a perspective like that is very interesting to see, especially when you can not communicate with these people when you yourself are practicing social distancing.
There is another highlight on their page that is all about the Coronavirus. Not just all about the Coronavirus but it contains links to FREE articles about the subject for anyone on Instagram to view.
Hearing Mr. Hedlund talk about how his team uses social media to aid in the delivering of news content opened my mind up to allowing news-related social media accounts to take up some space on my own timeline, and allow for posts to show up on my home page as I am endlessly scrolling to keep myself up to date on trending news topics, direct from the source itself. So now in addition to my subscription to the digital edition of The New York Times, I now have plugged myself into the social media of several news outlets, to keep myself informed.
Jumping back to the personal accounts I saw in the highlights of the Wall Street Journal’s Instagram page, I found myself craving more of that raw personal footage about how real people are dealing with the Coronavirus right now. I want to see how the Uber Eats Delivery Driver feels, and how the Nurses in hospitals around the state are dealing with this epidemic in their own workplace. I think social media is the perfect outlet for personal stories to be told, and news outlets need to take advantage of their platform and boost the voices of those out in the field, risking their health and giving their lives to keep our world running.
Taking in News is no longer a passive action for me, but one I now treat as a responsibility, to keep myself informed and knowledgeable on the state of the world and how it can directly impact my life, of the lives of those around me.