Eyes of the Future, Minds of the Past

Younger generations have more resources than ever, but perhaps they're overlooking the most important resource of all.

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photo by Lucie Flagg

As lengthy news articles are no longer piquing teens' interests, journalism must evolve to captivate the future minds.

I grew up intrigued by the world and its current events. I’d always watch the local news before school, and I’d watch the national news at night. Compared to all of my friends and others my age, I’m confident that I’m considerably more up to date with current events, and I have been for most of my life.

As I’ve gotten older, however, the time in my day to sit and watch the news on television has decreased greatly, but I still make a great effort to read the news on my phone and on my laptop. I love to know not only what goes on on our planet, but also the core cause of those events and issues.

In an era where the demand for the news should be greater, it is only becoming obsolete.”

I’ve noticed something, however, since I entered high school that seemingly shows a peculiarity of our generation. There’s been a loss of engagement with the news within Gen Z. When there’s extra time at the end of class, I often use it to catch up on the news, but I often see my classmates surfing around TikTok or Instagram. Don’t get me wrong — I spend my fair share of time on those apps, too, but neglecting something that’s crucial to understanding our nation, even our world, isn’t me, and I wish it wasn’t my generation.

Watching or reading the news is key for an entire generation to stay up to date and understand the world around them. In an era where the demand for the news should be greater, it is only becoming obsolete. The future leaders of the world take a great risk in staying misinformed.

The field of journalism has evolved — that’s for sure. But at the end of the day, all great journalists have the same overall goal — to inform the globe, teens included, of all important matters, big or small.

I had the opportunity to attend the National High School Journalism Convention this past November, and the amount of pure passion I saw there warms my heart yet concerns me for the future. Forty years from now, there will be journalists, but will there be a demand for their work? Ideally, the answer to a question like this would be an easy “yes,” but it’s much more than just a question — it’s the reality we’re living in.

Forty years from now, there will be journalists, but will there be a demand for their work?”

There’s a time and place for every type of journalism, but long, multi-paragraph articles are no longer keeping kids and teens engaged. A journalist who can convey a great message in just a few hundred words is just as important as a journalist who must use a thousand, and could also inspire an entire generation to love the news — a love that could shape the world for generations to come.

Solving this current event crisis will need the attention of both teens and journalists together. A future without the news is nothing. Imagine World War III happening, and not knowing what’s going on. Or your old middle school teacher wins the National Teacher of the Year award, and you don’t know because you never learned to care about current events. The news connects us as a community, a nation, a planet, and we can’t lose that because of ignorance.

Journalism shaped me into who I am today. I’m not ready to say goodbye, just yet.