Do You Pay Attention to World News?

How often do you educate yourself about the world’s happenings and pay attention to the conflicts between countries? With prevalent issues across the world, like the ongoing unrest between Russia and Ukraine, the importance of these conflicts varies from person to person, especially college students. Pew Research Center reported that Americans ages 50 and older use both television and digital devices for news at high rates, while the younger cohorts have almost fully turned to digital devices to access news. 

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, college-aged students spend an average of eight to 10 hours on their phones each day. If their main source of information comes from these digital devices, how many take the time to research prominent worldly issues?

Students’ efforts to keep up-to-date on happenings of the world differ greatly.  

“I am typically knowledgeable of worldly issues both inside and outside of the United States. I have heard a lot about the controversy between Russia and Ukraine because it’s covered so much, but I don’t fully understand it,” said sophomore Tierney Geoghegan. “Personally, I don’t follow news related accounts on social media. My parents always have the news channel on TV, and often send me links to articles. That’s how I receive most of my news.”

86 percent of American adults receive their news from a smartphone, computer or tablet, according to Pew Research Center. There are also many different pathways for Americans to access news on their devices such as news websites, apps, Google, various search engines, social media and podcasts. 

 “I follow news related accounts on social media such as CNN and Fox News because I think it’s important to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world. Social media is how I receive most of my news, but if I’m really intrigued, I’ll go to the website and read the article,” said junior Hope Mantovi. 

On the other hand, some students find themselves not keeping up to date with news. 

“Sometimes, I choose not to read about world news because it makes me feel helpless,” said senior Brielle Furci. “Obviously if there was major confrontation with the U.S. I would educate myself, but for many world news topics the first time I hear about them is in class.”

College-aged kids are also bombarded daily with news, which makes it harder to tell what news is real or fake, according to an article by Northeastern University. In a survey conducted in 2018, students often described the task of having to make sense of different versions of the same story, as various sources present information in altering ways. 

“I definitely get overwhelmed at times with all the different versions of the same news story, which I hate because as a business major, I like to know what’s going on in the world,” said junior Jess Gamby. “There are so many social media platforms, and with so many people chiming in, it’s hard to decipher what’s true and what’s not.” 

John Wihbey, a Northeastern professor, and one of the researchers who conducted the study said, “Young people have different ways of consuming news than people born even a decade before them. Our report suggests that in some ways, we have created for young people an extremely difficult environment of news. We need to figure out ways to guide them so they can navigate it.”

According to the article from Northeastern, much of this issue is derived from education. It is stated that teaching students how to evaluate news from an earlier age and more often during their school careers will aid them in avoiding feeling overburdened when it comes to news. 

Dan Cohen, Dean of Libraries at Northeastern, and another researcher on the study said, “Students are feeling at-sea about how to navigate the news today. The rebirth of a more in-depth and truth-seeking habit among students would be immensely helpful. for our society and our democracy.”

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