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Today’s world is chaotic, in a word. It often seems like there are so many things going wrong in the world that it feels impossible to choose what to pay attention to. Should I dedicate my time to learning about the climate crisis? Should I read up on the Taliban presence in the Middle East? What about staying up-to-date on how other countries are doing with COVID? Or am I better off focusing on what is happening closer to me: the latest updates on U.S. abortion laws, the governor recall in California, current debates about the vaccine? Unfortunately, all of these things feel far too overwhelming for me and I typically end up trying to shut it all out. I would not consider myself very educated on current events, and reading the news is not something that I prioritize in my daily life- even if I recognize its importance.
However, when I do decide to venture into the uncertainty and chaos that is our current news cycle, I obtain my information from various sources. I usually find out about significant current events from social media platforms (usually Instagram and Snapchat), or by hearing other people talk about what’s going on. I follow two social media accounts on Instagram that keep me generally in the loop- @shityoushouldcareabout and @beyondtheinterview. Both of these accounts post almost daily with trending tweets and the most newsworthy events of the day. The account @beyondtheinterview posts the ten most liked tweets of that day, which is usually a mixture of comedic tweets and informational tweets. The account @shityoushouldcareabout provides general COVID updates, news about pop culture (such as recently, the Met Gala), and information about various global crises. I also semi-regularly swipe through news Snapchat news stories such as the NBC News Stay Tuned story. This provides brief overviews of current events with links to longer stories.
When something I have not heard much about comes up, I usually turn to other web sources to elaborate on the issue. I will search for non-American news sources such as BBC or Al Jazeera. In terms of American news sources I will typically turn to The New York Times or NPR. Another way that I process significant news events is to talk about them with trusted friends and family. I seek out people from both political parties to ask them their personal thoughts on an issue and how they came to these conclusions. This is often helpful to me in settling on my own opinion, while becoming more informed all-around about a specific issue. At times, these conversations will drive me to research even further into an event, especially if I am particularly uninformed about the topic. However, I think that talking about current events with those around you—especially if they have differing opinions—is an important step in the news intake process. This forces you to think about why you hold your own opinions, and allows you to hear other perspectives. It is a goal of mine to become more informed on current events this school year.
Megan Rose, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: "What sources do you use to get news of current events? Why?" The class covers copyright and social media. Kyla is a Public Relations and Non-Profit Management major.
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