Keeping up with current events


Photo by and used with the permission of Kim Ferraro

The Political Science club discusses and debates current events at one of their meetings. Political science club is one of the many current event focused clubs at LZHS, along with REACT club and International Club.

Tax increases, inflation, infrastructure packages. Wherever a person falls politically, all of these events directly impact daily life. However, a Reuters report found that only 40% of teenagers pay attention to current events, and it is likely that a good amount of students do not even know what the examples I gave mean. I believe that it is not only important, but a responsibility for teenagers to pay attention to the news. 

“I think current events are really important to know because it’s clear that, especially with some current events, whether it’s a national current event, a global [current event], or even something that’s much very local, they could have an impact on you,” Kim Ferraro, social studies teacher, said.

Economic issues can impact every aspect of life, from how much food a student can afford at the grocery store to how much the gas for the family car costs. For my family, economic issues manifest in the way we make choices when we shop or what activities we participate in. Additionally, state policies can impact where students decide to go to college or move after high school. Federal politics can impact if the country is at war, or if the economy remains stable.

“It’s important to know what’s going on in the world, especially when I’m becoming an adult. I’m in my teenage years but I will become an adult in the next few years and be starting my life, so it’s important to know what things are going on around me and know how I want to react to them,” Lillian Kinsey, sophomore, said.

As a teen gets older, he or she will begin to have a bigger role in society. At age 18, every American citizen is eligible to vote, and Americans of any age can get involved in campaigns or causes that are important to them. Voting is especially important to me because it is a chance to exercise my voice and let those who represent me in office know how I feel about their work. Additionally, we in America are very lucky to be able to exercise the right to vote and choose our leaders, as this is a right that many around the globe lack or are punished for using. While this is important, the first step to doing any of these things is understanding the issues. In order to have meaningful discussion and discourse around current events, it is important to be informed on a topic before arguing a sound and reasonable position on it. 

“Finding reliable sources is good, [and] you should always have multiple sources that you look at,” Ferraro said.  “[Sources that are] trying to just inform you about what the heck is going on. That is their intent, that is their purpose, informing of what is currently going on in the world. There’s no message that goes beyond to inform.”

When looking into current events, however, it can be challenging to determine which sources are reliable and which are biased or untrue. Ferraro says that websites with a “.org, .edu, or a .gov,” can be seen as more reliable. She also says that “dot coms are of course fine,” but may need to be “looked into a bit more.” Students can refer to the Ad Fontes Media Bias Study, the most widely used study for the bias of Western news sources that is updated on a yearly basis, which lists most US and European news sources, to learn more.

Once students determine a few reliable sources to get their news from, I believe that each individual should work to ensure that they stay up to date on current events, whether those events occur on a local, national, or international level. 

“I would recommend staying more aware of what your friends post on social media, because social media is a really great [way] for people to post things that are happening in the world and to educate yourself on those issues because that’s how we stay more informed as a whole,” Michelle “Elle” Feng, senior, said.

While social media is a great way to become aware of news stories, students should be aware that it is easy for information that is hyper partisan (biased towards one political extreme) or disinformation (stories that are not factual) to be presented as true or unbiased on these platforms.

“What I think is useful to do, if you’re not sure if a source is reliable, is go on multiple websites. Take websites that [lean] one way, so maybe more of a left leaning [and a] more right leaning site [and] take an event that has happened and look at how they both cover it,” Ferraro said.

Additionally, once a student becomes more informed on current events, there are ways for him or her to be more involved in current events at the school. I do this by volunteering on campaigns and working for candidates who are passionate about topics that speak to me, like the censorship of books, or working with candidates who I feel will do a better job than their opponent. Ferraro recommends that students join Political Science Club, in which “students that are a little bit more left or right leaning have fantastic conversations [about current events],” as well as International Club, which explores different cultures through a range of activities. Students who are passionate about the environment can also join REACT Club or other groups.

I believe that it is important for all students to be informed on what is happening in the news, be it a local story or a national one, so that each person can be a better citizen, not only in his or her community but nationally and globally as well.

“I think it’s most worthwhile to be engaged in a topic that really means something to you,” Ferraro said. “You’re not going to become engaged if [you] aren’t interested, or [you’re engagement] won’t be worthwhile if [you] aren’t interested.”

Even if a student does not think that he or she has the time to become engaged in movements or groups, it is still important to pay attention to current events in order to be a knowledgeable citizen. This allows students to fully participate in the American experiment, and not only vote for the candidate they feel best represents them but also to have a better grasp of contemporary society.

“We are the future and it’s important to stay educated now so that we can do greater things in the future,” Feng said.

In the end, I maintain that paying attention to the news isn’t just something that students should be doing. Staying informed is a responsibility that each person has to his or her community and nation. Having informed and aware citizens is better for every town, state, and country as a whole.

“I think it is very important to make sure that you have a good understanding of what’s going on in the world,” Kinsey said. “[Because] you eventually will be taking care of [it] when you get older.”