Editorial: Have You Read the News Today?

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According to Microsoft Research group, an incredibly low number of Americans are using the internet to actively read the news.

For the sake of the survey, “active” consumption of news consists of reading 10 news articles and two opinion pieces in a three-month period.  News articles constitute relatively hard news — that of national or regional importance in the political, economic or social realms, thus discounting other topics, such as entertainment, sports, health, fashion and weather. The study, which surveyed 1.2 million Americans, found that just over 50,000, or four percent, were categorized as “active news consumers” of “front section” news on the Internet.

In other words, while four percent of Americans peruse web articles by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Politico, the remaining 96 percent read materials elsewhere, be it on ESPN, Us Weekly, Buzzfeed or CollegeHumor.

We, at The Fordham Ram, do not think these light-hearted publications are inferior, nor do we think they are a waste of time. These sources have come to shape American culture as we know it. We do, however, believe that consuming news is one of our responsibilities as 21st century American citizens.

Freedom of the press, solidified in the First Amendment, guarantees our right to do so without an authoritative body looking over our shoulder.

So why are 96 percent of Americans passing up the opportunity? The excuse of being an “a-political” person has become void in a world where our realities are shaped by those who hold power, wealth and resources. A look at news may not constitute a solution to the problems that plague our political, economic and social institutions, but it is an acknowledgement of their existence.

Making use of this right is even more essential to us as college students at a Jesuit university. Fordham calls us to be “men and women for others,” but how can we be “for others” when we are unaware of the world beyond our campus gates?

With the doctrine of cura personalis, how can we become fully developed individuals when the only world we know is the immediate sphere we inhabit? The consumption of news— the continuous narrative of our city, state, country and world— is the most modern portal to becoming a part of this narrative, and it is one we should not discard.

As Fordham University’s Journal of Record, The Fordham Ram does its best to provide the community with a truthful account of the important events in our community. Available in print and online every week, each issue is our contribution to the values our democracy and university claim to uphold.

Admittedly, however, this contribution means nothing until it is materialized by our student body.

A voice is only a voice once it is heard.