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 poll 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 initiative officially launches with the poll’s release at a news conference on Tuesday, September 23 by AEJMC, RTDNA, and other News Engagement Day partners.
AEJMC President Paula Poindexter says that for some young people, news is not just a low priority, it’s absent from their lives. That’s why the most recent Pew Research Center biennial news consumption survey called 29% of young people “newsless.” On a typical day they did not get news from traditional news platforms, cell phones or social networks. Rather than remaining on the sidelines observing news’ declining relevance in the lives of Millennials and older generations, National News Engagement Day will elevate the importance of engaging with news.
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.
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, and be sure to let us know how you plan to get involved!