I have to admit, I am bad at keeping up with the news. For various reasons, I often tend to avoid staying on top of many of the ongoing topics in the media today. However, whether if you are looking at it from a voting point of view or from a writing point of view, that is a poor decision to make. Having a reliable, unbiased news source is very important for any writer, business owner, or general citizen. It not only allows us to be more informed and active citizens, but it also allows us to do our jobs better. How can you really write without knowing the full experience of what is going on in your world? How can you effectively run a business without knowing how current events may be affecting you and your future business? Emilie makes a very good point below, and includes some tips on how to get a more "clear" picture on what is going on in the world so you can make your own decisions without the hyped up "stories" that the media likes to portray lately. -JC
With the amount of free news widely available, it seems almost criminal to not be informed about current events. However, in this media soaked environment, it’s not only important that you stay informed but also that you get your news from a variety of different sources.
Most Americans get their news by watching television, opting for networks like CNN, FOX, or local channels.* Though watching the news is sometimes more convenient and is free and easily accessible, it is often the most biased and skewed way to receive information, especially political news. Getting the news from another person can greatly influence our own opinions, and therefore, it’s important to take the time to actually read the news.
I think the best way to navigate through the hyperactive media environment of today is to read the news either in print, online, or on your cellphone. Especially when considering political issues, it’s important to read about both sides of the issue and make up your own mind before being influenced by the prejudices of other people.
I personally believe that one of the best news sources available is the Associated Press. I generally read AP news on my cellphone through their free app, but they also have a free website and twitter account. The AP provides free, unbiased breaking news and often does specialty pieces where they assess the truth behind divisive political issues. Recently the AP put out an article, “Fact Check: Both Sides in Keystone XL Debate Bend Facts” where they investigate both sides of the debate surrounding the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline and reveal that, as with most issues, each side stretches the truth to make their argument.
It’s especially important with political issues to read about the issues from a more unbiased source like the AP or the Washington Post (which also has a free app and website). Most television networks and many other media sources skew their information to place blame on one political party or another for the inactivity and constant debate in Washington, when really both sides are playing an active role. Clearly newswriting can be highly biased as well, but at least by reading the news you can discern the facts for yourself. Reading the news and varying your sources of information is also a way to actively participate in politics; it allows you to understand for yourself what policy decisions are being made and which politicians are involved. To be a conscious voter, it is important to be informed and hold politicians accountable for their actions.
When I was recently in Washington, D.C., I went to one of my favorite museums, the Newseum—a museum of news and journalism. Written on one of the walls is this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Knowledge is indeed power and staying informed, especially about political issues both foreign and domestic, gives us power in our government. Just a thought.
Related Article: Just a Thought: How to (Really) Make America Great Again
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