Why You Should Keep Up with Current Events

By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

As a journalist, I am constantly checking up with the latest news, partly because it naturally interests me, partly because I feel obligated.

A few years ago, however, that wasn’t the case.

When I first enrolled in school, I was as much interested in the news as I was in some rich old guy’s golf score that week. I couldn’t tell you who was running for any kind of political position, when the next election was — and don’t get me started on global affairs. I was solely into the Oscars, "tips on what to wear on your first day of school" articles and the tabloids.

As soon as I declared my major in journalism and expressed my excitement about it to other people, they began the, "Oh, have you heard …” discussion. And nope, I hadn’t heard. About anything. And it was embarrassing.

So even though I really don’t have time to sit down and watch hours of the nightly news, I have found quick ways around all that and can still keep up with what’s going on. This is especially important for me as a journalist, but it’s just as important for any college student.

Senior Alix John is majoring in journalism and has a minor in political science. She landed an internship with Mark Warner, a senator for Virginia, but not without a cost.

In her internship interview, she was asked a series of questions involving current events. Here's her advice on how to stay in the loop.

“I found it helpful to follow news outlets on Twitter so I can stay informed while socializing. For me, it’s important to stay informed because it makes me a better citizen," Alix said. "I can make a more educated decision with my vote, my career, my money and my decisions.”

As we grow older into our 20s and 30s, it is essential for our to understand the basics of the big topics right now like health care, the economy, wars overseas, etc.

"News is not something that gets a lot of time or attention or interest from teens," said Thomas Patterson, a professor of government and the press at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, in a Reuters article.

With falling readership in newspapers, much of the news has been put on the Internet, since that is where many young people spend their time.

I suggest flipping on either "Good Morning America" or "The Today Show" in the background while you get ready in the morning, same thing at night while you’re exercising or making dinner. It’s also just as important to read up or watch your local news, since those events will most likely affect you the most. Put that tech-savvy brain to good use and “like” news stations or newspapers on Facebook or “follow” them on Twitter.

I use Facebook more for the social aspect but Twitter is what I use for news. I love it! I can literally go on for five minutes and check in to see in a one-sentence format what is going on around me. The Washington Post, The New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, CBS News, CNN and ABC News all post pretty frequently, just to name a few.

As much as it’s glamorized in some aspects of popular culture, nobody likes a ditz.

Image: adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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