Why we should participate in news engagement every day

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News Engagement Day is Tuesday, October 2

Tuesday marks the fifth annual News Engagement Day.  Sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the event highlights the importance of our participation in knowing what is happening in the world around us.

As I advocate for news engagement on my campus and in my community, I am aware of the hesitation of some who are wary of what they hear about fake news and media bias. While we lambast or ignore the news, we miss the opportunity to gain understanding about policies, events and decisions that impact our lives – and we sidestep our responsibility to be informed citizens.

By participating with media in the journalism process, we hold them accountable to us – the audience. Likewise, by paying attention we are better able to hold newsmakers – leaders, policymakers, advocates, demonstrators and the like – accountable for their words and actions.

We are partners in the news process, yet we are forfeiting our responsibility in that partnership by dismissing news as fake or biased. It is up to us to make it better by demanding accuracy, supporting those news outlets that follow ethical standards and practices, and calling out those outlets that violate our trust with unscrupulous reporting.

The challenge in holding news media accountable is that we must be informed. Just as poorly researched, single source journalism is unreliable, avoiding news or consuming from single outlets limits our perspectives and our credibility. Through ongoing engagement, we are better able to discern among responsible news outlets and those preying on our own biases or ignorance.

Let’s start Tuesday to build a habit of news engagement. Read, listen, respond. Go to your favorite news source, then look for the same stories in alternative outlets. Check the facts from one of the growing number of fact-checking sites that are taking the time to analyze statements made by journalists, newsmakers, politicians, bloggers, and others generating news stories.

News Engagement Day is a call to action for all of us – the public, journalists and community leaders – to re-establish our partnership in the news process. For more information and resources, go to www.newsengagement.org.

#NewsEngagementDay

Florida Tech’s communication programs include undergraduate degrees in Multiplatform Journalism and Strategic Communication and a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication.

Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Ph.D.

Dr. Heidi Hatfield Edwards is a professor of communication, and chair of communication programs in the School of Arts and Communication at Florida Institute of Technology.

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Heidi Hatfield Edwards is professor of communication, and chair of communication programs in the School of Arts and Communication at Florida Institute of Technology.

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