National News Engagement Day on Oct. 7

 

I grew up watching the local television news, in Spanish and in English, and reading the newspaper. I learned to read Spanish thanks to La Opinion.

But few teens today watch or read the news. Often, they are unaware of information because they are not regular consumers of news. If I didn’t require my media students to keep up with news as part of their introductory Journalism 1, newspaper or yearbook classes, I doubt many of these students would take the initiative to be abreast of what’s going on in the world today. So as a former newspaper reporter and now a journalism teacher, I’m happy to hear about an event taking place this Tuesday meant to show the importance of news.

On Oct. 7, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) is holding its first National News Engagement Day to lead efforts to make engaging with news a national priority again. As part of this day, AEJMC’s goal is to “encourage everyone of all ages to read, watch, like, tweet, post, listen, comment and talk about the news on this day. News touches all our lives, because news matters,” according to the nonprofit organization’s website.

 The board of the Journalism Education Association (which I belong to) is endorsing this day and has created a list of suggested activities for media students to do. One activity that I got from a Pinterest board is encouraging my newspaper and yearbook staffs to create a behind-the-scenes look at how they product their publications.
Here are a few other  suggestions from JEA:
  • Consider signing the pledge here
  • Check out the ideas posted from AEJMC on a Pinterest board dedicated to this event. The board has contributions from all across the country, and many of these activities could work for your students or spark an idea.
  • Be social. Please tag anything you’re doing with both the #newsengagementday hashtag and #JEA so we can have a strong presence for this inaugural event
  • Consider inviting students to do a “why news matters” editorial to run Tuesday.
  • Wear staff T-shirts for any on-campus or community activities that day. Capture photos and share! (Again, post and tag as #newsengagementday AND #JEA.)
  •  Conduct an open brainstorming session or story budget meeting (or similar) so students at your school can see how your students determine what’s news and why as well as how to localize it, how to find sources, how to determine the best way to tell the story. Does your school audience know what that process looks like? Wouldn’t it be cool to host an open session?

I can’t wait to see all the ways people, especially students, engage with the news on Oct. 7.