You should engage with news media

By S. Hennessy Machado-Hidalgo

Everyone should critically engage with news media.

To critically engage with news media is to ask the same six questions journalists ask when covering a story: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Anyone can ask themselves these questions while consuming content. It does not mean to fall down a misinformation rabbit hole.

A key step to account for reliability and biases is to consider who is telling the story.

Jean Stapleton, Journalism Department chair, said to trust news organizations that follow the ethics of the journalism field and have an established trustworthy reputation.

The core tenet of journalism ethics is to tell the truth. Stapleton said not to trust any organization that doesn’t make corrections.

Consumers can then check  multiple news sources to corroborate what, when and where an event factually occurred.

From there, understanding why and how something happened can vary from simple to complex.

The how and why of a traffic accident is likely simple to gather but, understanding the intricacies of a Supreme Court ruling is more likely to be complicated.

Despite the complicated nature of some news events, they are worth analyzing; in a democratic society critical thinking is key to daily life.

This does not mean consumers need to dedicate hours of research to every single story they come across.

Critical engagement is pausing, realizing one is not as familiar with a certain subject and being mindful of how that informs one’s worldview.

It’s corroborating a social media news post through a search engine.

It’s consuming news from politically opposite sources more often than one usually does.

It’s also deciding to do further research when necessary, such as researching for whom to vote.

Annette Quijada, former editor in chief of East Los Angeles College Campus News, said, “Letting the people know what’s going on outside of their circle is important… because any event can eventually impact their circle.”

To engage with the news is to engage with the circumstances that make life what it is today.

That’s worth taking a pause to allow yourself to think.

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