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NED challenges students to take responsibility for their public voice

Anxiety, stress, self-image, and other teen issues plague students around the world, silencing their public voice. Journalists and news reporters fight against the constant decline of community interest in the news with days like News Engagement Day, Oct. 2. Encouraged to watch videos, tweet messages, and post pictures, students engage with their news and take action to promote the freedoms of the First Amendment.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Feather journalists, Richard Cortez, ’20, (left to right), Bryce Foshee, ’21, and Alex Rurik, ’19, work on articles that inform the student body about homecoming 2018, Sept. 29.

News Engagement Day (NED) was at first an initiative created to reversed the public decline of engagement with the news, trust in the media, and understanding of journalism.  In 2014, former Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) president, Paula Poindexter, organized the first National News Engagement Day.

As a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Poindexter felt that without public encouragement, people would continue a disinterest in the news which is unhealthy for the media, country, and the common good.

According to NED, the purpose of News Engagement Day is “to encourage engagement with news and promote understanding about the principles and process of journalism in a democratic society.” The world-wide event takes place in October, encouraging involvement in the news before November elections.

Former executive editor and senior vice president of The Fresno Bee, Jim Boren, believes that being informed is crucial to being a good citizen. When students are uninformed, they miss opportunities to participate in community events.

A well-informed electorate is crucial to civic engagement and increases participation in our democracy,” Boren said. “Residents find out what is happening at the City Council and school board through news coverage. Students who are uninformed about news events are less capable of having the information needed to participate in community dialogue. Residents who get engaged with the news have great power to improve things in their community.”

In the following podcast, The Feather Online editors discuss the importance of news engagement and how students can get involved.

The importance of the First Amendment affects students all over campus. First year journalist, Morgan Parker, ‘21, joined The Feather to inform people and write about things interesting to the public. Parker strives to keep her peers engaged by using Twitter, writing articles, and doing research.

“I think that engagement with the news is important because it keeps us informed and without it we wouldn’t know what goes on in our community or at school,” Parker said. “Before I joined The Feather, I appreciated that they kept us up to date with important days and let us know if we were in certain activities. The Feather website keeps everyone informed about things on and off campus.”

The Feather staff uses News Engagement Day to challenge ideas of self-doubt and insecurity among the student body. Promoting freedom of speech and press, journalists engage with their peers and write articles voicing the thoughts of those on campus.

Students who are uninformed about news events are less capable of having the information needed to participate in community dialogue. Residents who get engaged with the news have great power to improve things in their community. — Former executive editor and senior vice president of The Fresno Bee, Jim Boren

An editor-in-chief of The Feather Online, Alex Rurik, ‘19, believes that following the news is critical to becoming an engaged citizen. He shares what makes students feel inadequate and how they can speak out in their communities.

“I think it’s really important to get involved with news because elementary, junior high, and high school students can feel inadequate compared to adults,” Rurik said. “We don’t have as much ‘power’ and our voices aren’t heard among older people. Because we aren’t adults our opinions can seem insignificant, but that isn’t the case. Avoiding apathy and engaging with news is super critical because that is how we get our voices out there. It’s important for us to be heard and when we are heard, others are informed.”

Journalists from The Feather Online last year gather to work on homecoming articles.

News Engagement Day assists the student body in getting involved with the news, however, some students oppose it. To much of the campus population, the news is misunderstood or neglectful in voicing the opinions of it’s students.

Braxton Liebe, ‘21, chooses not to participate in local news. He feels that news reports today are untrustworthy and his voice is insignificant among the other campus voices.

“I personally don’t use the news too much,” Braxton Liebe. “Today you can’t really trust everything because most people will go out and try to get the best story, but that isn’t necessarily truth. I do appreciate the first amendment with freedom of speech because lots of people use it to make their voice known. Whether the are in the news or not, people will always find a way for people to hear their voice.”

The Feather Online staff meets before homecoming to discuss responsibilities for the week ahead.

Not feeling completely heard, Claire Palsgaard, ‘20, sees a need for diverse opinions being expressed on campus. Palsgaard believes that the news should publish a variety of perspectives, rather than the same typical viewpoints.

“I do think it’s important to engage with the news, but I think being unengaged can also be a positive thing,” Palsgaard said. “The news can be really negative and put you in a bad state of mind, so avoiding it is sometimes best. If something really big happens then someone will post about it but I don’t have a tv so I don’t get the news that way. I think that freedom of speech is important because people with diverse opinions should be able to express themselves.”

To connect the student body with the news, The Feather team prints flyers and holds lunch activities to promote the rights of the First Amendment. Students learn about their freedoms and the ways they can get involved.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Students read local newspapers, like social media posts, and read articles to engage with The Feather on News Engagement Day, Oct. 2.

Sam Cross, ‘19, an editor-in-chief for The Feather Online, connects with students on campus to convey their voices to others. He believes that when students disengage with news, they form opinions that aren’t based on truth.

“People who become unengaged with the news become unengaged with truth,” Cross said. “When someone is unengaged with the truth, they aren’t sure what truth means anymore. In a school community if someone doesn’t understand what is going on there could be miscommunication, confusion, and chaos. Just having a conversation with someone and getting to know them creates a real personal connection where you can hear them express themselves.”

We are your voice! Where do you get your news? Share your support of News Engagement Day by commenting on articles and liking The Feather’s Instagram and Twitter posts using #newsengagementday. If you have an idea for an article or interest in writing a column, email it to @thefeatheronline.

The video below shows The Feather’s editors perspective on the importance of news and its value to high schoolers. Special thanks to juniors Blake Deffenbacher and Braden Bell for the video.

For more articles on News Engagement Day, read News Engagement Day emphasizes student involvement. For more articles, read BREAKING: Students, staff anticipate upcoming 34th annual homecoming week and PROFILE: Schultz strives for excellence on and off court.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email and via Twitter @SchultzAddison.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

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