October 6 is the second annual national News Engagement 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 sprang from a survey by the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in 2014, which included measurements of the trust of the press, comparisons of traditional media to social media, and the public's grade of news coverage.
Among the findings:
- Only 17% of Americans trust journalists
- Only 9% of Americans trust news on #Twitter
- Only 16% of us think news is important in our daily life
- Just 14% of us think news media protects democracy more than it hurts it
- Only 30% of Americans say news should be a watchdog
- 45% of the public think online news should be free
- Only 19% of us think being informed empowers us
- The public grades the press on news coverage. 13% ‘A’ 36% ‘B’ 33% ‘C’ 12% ‘D’ 6% ‘F’
Colleges and universities are encouraged to host news engagement activities, civic engagement organizations can host round tables and town halls, and anyone can tweet or photo or video themselves engaging with news. Here are some 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.