It’s January and it seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing advertisements for gym memberships and seeing magazine covers plastered with tips to help you get the body of your dreams. While this buzz will slowly decline as the year goes on and New Year’s Resolutions fade back into old habits, I want to take this time to discuss another kind of diet, my media diet.
My very first assignment in my Current Events in Mass Media class was to document all of our media consumption for two days, and then reflect on our findings in a short essay. I’ve done assignments like these before about various aspects of my life, and I always find it interesting to see everything listed out where I can look at it objectively. For this assignment I wasn’t shocked by what I recorded in the slightest, I am well aware that I spend way too much time on Instagram every day. What I was shocked by was what wasn’t in my media diet: news. Also, I confess to being the one who said they should be kicked out of the journalism school.
From my reflection:
The first thing that immediately stands out after doing this assignment is that I did not look at the news at all in these two days. I spend a lot of time on social media, and sometimes I do get some news from that, but I never seek out and look at news. This is definitely a weakness of mine, and I should probably have been kicked out of the j-school for it.
What is saddest is that I believe I am a pretty well informed person. And I am, but not about stuff that truly matters.
Most of the time if someone asks me if I’ve heard about some current event my answer is almost always no, and then they provide me with a synopsis of what happened and then I consider myself informed. Sometimes I get tidbits of information through Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, but never anything that great or substantial. Twitter is a growing news source, but my Twitter use has dwindled down to nothing. Well maybe not nothing, I do use it to see my sorority’s meal menu for the week. That counts – right?
The worst part is that I was somewhat aware of how out of touch I am with what is going on around me, but yet I have little desire to do anything about it. So am I a terrible person and a disgrace to my school? Or is this a fairly normal for people my age? (I’m 22). I’m holding on to danah boyd’s statements that first, she sees “no indication that this generation is more or less engaged with hard news than previous generations,” and secondly, that teens pay attention to whatever flows past them.
So is it my own fault for being ill-informed, or is it the media’s fault because their content isn’t being put in front of me. It would be nice to place the blame on someone else, but I know that I have done this to myself. All the information is out there, I just refuse to seek it out. Sigh.
So, my mid-January New Year’s Resolution is to try to be more informed. Let’s hope this resolution is one that actually sticks!