By Alina Hunter-Grah, Chattanooga, Tenn.—

Over the past few weeks as I’ve become more entangled with the drama that UTC has so gracefully become cultivating grounds for, I’ve realized even more how important the news actually is and how exciting it can be. I’ve also come to realize how absolutely and excruciatingly frustrating it is that more people don’t read the news. So I’ve made a list of the biggest four reasons everyone should indulge themselves in the world’s happenings.

  1. It’s actually really important. Journalism exists almost as an unofficial part of government, kind of like a part of the checks and balances system. Without it, true democracy could not exist. In order for a true democracy to exist, people have to be able to make informed choices. And in order for people to make informed choices, they have to have unbiased information, which is exactly what journalists are called to do: present the population with unbiased as possible information. Without journalism, we would have never known about Watergate or discovered how awful the meatpacking plants were in 1906 that led to the founding of the FDA. And if people had not been reading the news, nothing ever would have been fixed. Journalism is what sparks change in the world.
  2.  When you read the news, you learn. Not only will you increase your score at jeopardy or trivia games at Buffalo Wild Wings when you learn about which city has the most homeless people or who the leaders of the senate are, you will become a better citizen. When you read the news, you gain insight. You can understand context as to why certain problems need to be fixed or why things are being fixed in certain ways and you can learn to help out the people around you more appropriately. You will know the what, who, when, where, why, and so what to every problem or situation out there if you read enough.
  3. The world is like your favorite TV show, but better. You like the TV shows you like because of the conflict. That’s why they hold in you in for so long and why binge-watching on Netflix is so easy. You get caught up in the drama of it all. The real world revolves around the same kinds of drama. As you read the news more and more, you learn who the characters are and you learn how they operate and why. You begin to notice patterns. You see that why this person or group reacted this way to that situation is because they’re trying to hide an issue to avoid lawsuits they may not be able to afford. You see how the whole world is connected and it sucks you in in the same way House of Cards or Orange is the New Black or Jane the Virgin sucks you in. The world is essentially one big drama.
  4. You can change things. This is why the world is better than your favorite TV show. You can have an impact on the characters. You can start petitions or protests against the sneaky character that always screws things up for the good guys. You can support your heroes in ways that you can’t in TV shows. You can stand up for the people who have unjustified wrong done against them. You can change the course of events. But you can’t if you don’t know what’s going on. That’s why people have to read the news. Nothing will change if people don’t know what to change or how. The heroes in the world will never succeed; the bad guys will never be stopped; and the helpless will never be helped. So please, pick up a newspaper and start.