October 7 is National News Engagement Day, the first-ever day set aside to encourage the public to engage with the news and overcome barriers to make news engagement and news literacy a national priority.
The idea springs from a new survey by the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), which includes measurements of the trust of the press, comparisons of traditional media to social media, and the public's grade of news coverage. The survey found that only 17 percent of Americans trust journalists, just 16 percent believe news is important to our daily life, and only 14 percent think news media protects democracy more than hurts it.
Here are some of the activities being conducted by schools across the country today:
Loyola University New Orleans: All students will be asked to download an application from a local news media outlet and tweet interesting storires. Students who tweet the stories with #newsengagementday and #smcnews will be entered into a drawing to win a iPad mini.
University of Maryland: Events will be held on campus, including a mass reading and a group photo. The C-Span bus will also be on campus and will be open for tours during the day.
American University: Students are being encourage to form teams for a campus-wide news quiz. The quiz will be broadcast live across campus and prizes will be awarded to top teams.
University of Alabama: Students are invited to a cookout, follwed by a news quiz in a game show format.
Here are more ways for student and professional journalists to participate:
- Host a community meet-and-greet at a local civics organization, community center, public library or on your campus.
- Give a behind-the-scenes look at how the news is made.
- Visit a high school civics class to talk about journalism or visit a college class to discuss how non-journalism majors can get engaged with news in their fields.
- Engage young people in news on platforms they already use, such as social media
- Roll reversal: give the man-on-the-street interview a twist by asking folks in your community to interview you about being a journalist.
- Add a suggested action item to each news story.
- Pick a story you’ve produced and break down the life cycle of creating it, including ethical decision making and verification.
Through these and other ideas being collected on the official page, News Engagement Day aims to create a more informed public, more cognizant of the importance of the news in daily life and as a key part of democratic societies.
For more on National News Engagement Day, an effort to show that being informed is empowering, enjoyable and essential for a healthy democracy, please visit www.newsengagement.org.