Some habits die hard

And one of my habits is reading the newspaper every day. This was the topic of my latest op-ed, which appeared in Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot. The original impetus for the article was, of course, the announced changes to the newspaper. But then the Pew Research Center in conjunction with the Knight Foundation released a study (pdf) about how people learn about their local community, which I first saw referenced in this story. (Note that I did not tackle – at least in this article – the second Pew report referenced in this story.)

Teaching at ODU has reinforced for me that there has to be some way of encouraging (enticing?) the younger generation to read newspapers or somehow otherwise get news. I asked my students how many of them read the newspaper. Only a couple – out of 200 – read it.

Trying to relate accounting to something that the students can relate to is always a challenge. Trying to relate it to current events is almost impossible when the students are unaware of what is going on around them. Case in point: one of my students shares the name of a politico who has been in the news a lot. I mentioned it to her and she said she was wondering why her name was trending one day on Twitter. Thought it was cool – but she didn’t know why it was trending.

This wasn’t always the case. I’m back in the classroom after an eight-year absence and it seems this group of students appear to be further removed from the news than ever. It should not be a surprise, then, that younger people are unreliable voters.

Maybe they’ll grow into it. For all our sakes, I sure hope so. But if in the interim the sources of information disappear, they will have nothing to grow into.

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4 thoughts on “Some habits die hard

  1. I looked at the PEW/Knight study and it said Newspapers tie for top source for local political news. That is not true in our area. They may mention federal offices but no so much state and very little local. That is why I think the newspapers will always be viable if they target on their local happenings more than outside areas. I think it is like a student writing a paper. They may read something on Wikipedia but they are not going to put that as their source they are instead will read the reliable source paper listed on Wikipedia reference and use that as their reference in their own paper. So to me newspapers or more of a credible source than many of the blog or internet sites today. Especially those that do very little research before printing what they hear.

    I should say I have seen students use Wikipedia for references but usually when they get their first F on that paper they learn not to do that any more.

      1. Oh please you are the worst! Ha :-> just kidding no I am not talking about you or any blog that researches what they hear before they put it up. Unless a readers knows a blog well it is hard to judge the accuracy of the blog the first couple visits. What helps are blogs (like yours) that link to articles or studies to prove their point in their post.

        However, there is one blog I read that post stuff without any research. I have come to assume everything on that blog is wrong unless I can find info backing it up somewhere else.

  2. I’m just so sad. This is one of THE topics for the 21st Century. Some of us have been thinking about it for many years. Your op ed piece put it out for those who are still interested and still reading print media.

    This is one of the few things which most be “solved”in order to avoid a fall into a strange articulate, subjective idea of the facts as seen by you, me, anyone with a camera. It isn’t the money or the future of democracy it’s the loss of trained voices and witnesses who are able to filter the minutiae of daily.

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