What's New in the News?
With all this technology and the proliferation of information, you'd think we'd be more informed, right? Think again. NPR is reporting today on a Pew Research Center study finding that, although information and news is more available than ever, we don't retain any more information about world affairs than we did 20 years ago. I was specifically disappointed to see that women scored significantly lower than men, and that 18-35 year olds trailed significantly behind other age groups.
Check you News IQ against the demographic groups. I scored above averages for all groups (77%, though the questions I missed I totally should have known.) but I am a self-confessed News Junkie, taking after my dad. It's a lifetime problem I've had- I remember in elementary school in Hawaii, on the radio, I wouldn't listen to the latest music station, I'd listen to the 24-Hour CNN Headline News station, and I though it was cool that I could mute the TV on CNN Headline News, put my headphones on, and the radio station would sync with the TV news. I suppose I was an odd child. Now, I'm not so different- I listen to NPR on the radio rather than any music station. I've never surfed Facebook or MySpace like normal people my age. Instead, I refresh Google Reader over and over to make sure I don't miss a breaking story. Seriously, Google Reader is a lifesaver for the News Junkie.
I had conversations about this with others. I have a hard time understanding why a person wouldn't care to keep up with the news. Most people I talk to say they know they "should" do a better job, but aren't motivated or say they don't have time. I keep informed on current events because I feel it is a responsibility- I can't vote unless I understand the issues and the candidates. I can't support one side or another of an issue without knowing the arguments for both sides, to know why I believe what I do. I can't want change in the world if I don't know what's happening in the world. I can't know what the most important causes are unless I know what is affecting people's lives. While at Taylor, I wrote a couple of letters to the editor encouraging people to care about world events outside "the Bubble," but I don't think anyone cared.
Being aware of the news and the world has made me care more about the world, and so I am happy I have made the effort. Why do you (or don't you) keep up with current events?