Taking advantage of the news


When you read an article about something happening on the other side of the world, you don’t always know what references the author is making. This comes into play, especially today, when talking about extremist groups, past conflicts and past tensions between countries or states or cities.

While most people I know would scroll past the links describing “What the Brotherhood is,” I think those links are one of the most important things about web journalism. It’s an example of how our technology has given us such easy access to such important information — to really understanding the core and depth of articles about groups, people and places that we don’t normally learn about. Instead of skimming over important facts and definitions, we can now reach it with a click, as long as we’re not too lazy to do even that.

As an avid reader and writer growing up, I wanted to know what every word meant if I had never heard of it before. As a college student studying journalism and international studies, I wanted to know how international crises came about; what happened in the past, who did what and what that meant for international relations.

Sadly, I find that most people solely want to know what is happening right now, because they find that more important, more pressing to know, than things that have happened in the past—especially if they feel what has happened in the past is resolved. As a student I’ve learned that any conflict has a history, that historical events have created relationships between countries and people that affect what is happening today.

Is it just enough to read that one article, and pass over extra links between the paragraphs? I say no, I say that you should always read more into just the number of deaths, more than just the name of the opposing parties. Just knowing there is a conflict does not mean understanding what is happening.

Do others find that extra reading to be boring? Do I sound like that history teacher in high school that is always trying to make you understand ‘why history is so important’?

I say this because I’ve learned how you can think you know something confidently but that there are so many lives behind it, there are so many relationships that are always growing and changing and that they change what is happening every day.

There is a reason more than one journalist covers every event; they can’t say everything about it in one article. There is so much in every article about international happenings that there is always something you haven’t learned yet. Most people pass that by — and even if you think looking something up in another screen is too much to ask, journalists have linked you to plenty of information somewhere that your mouse will pass over anyways.

Those little blue links are designed to help you overcome the laziness that keeps you from taking that extra step for more information. They are there because that information is important and it gives, or comes from, a different view.

That’s what journalism is about. It’s was news is about; it’s the reason why people read the news in the first place—to get out of their bubble. They do it to know what is happening that they can’t see, that they haven’t encountered during their day. If you apply that way of thinking to learning about the world, you learn that one article is only what one other person has seen or taken an interest in. You read the news because what you can’t see is important. Do it full-heartedly.