From Immersion to Action

How we consume news drives our energy and will to make change

Illustrator: Ruby Guthrie

Berlin—Nov. 9, 1989. Thousands rushed to a wall that had stood for almost thirty years. During that time, the wall that split a city, a country, a continent, the world, began being pulled down by students, teachers, mechanics, shop owners and artists. People like you and me. They wore the same black high-top Chuck Taylors and Levi denim jackets, they had the same hair styles, they sung along to the same Queen songs and danced to the same Madonna.

But what separates us from those people on that cold and wet night in the German capital is a burning passion. A passion that grows over time, a passion that does not develop from the way we consume news today. Perhaps consume should not be used as the word for how we view our news; perhaps taste is more fitting, for we do not actually consume anything but rather take a bite and throw it away. We taste our news through ten second snapchat videos, through seven-word headlines, through 280 characters or less. We view our news in fleeting moments, but great moments in history are not fleeting.

The fall of the Berlin wall, the end of South African Apartheid, the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and the resignation of President Nixon were all a result of time, effort, and above all else, passion. These great events are a result of people saying enough is enough, a people backed by a strong journalistic core working to do good—a people who gave a shit, read great work, and acted. Today, we are not those people.

We pick up our overpriced phones and scroll through our Twitter feeds, shifting through a clusterfuck of information. We swipe past vines from 2013, Vikings results and comments from frat boys bashing P.J. Fleck until we stumble upon a Bernie Sanders tweet that Melanie from freshman writing liked. It reads “I’m no historian, but I think it’s fair to say that there’s probably never been a president less qualified than Trump,” and links to a USA Today article. Without opening the story, we click the retweet and continue scrolling.

And this wouldn’t be an issue if it did something. But it doesn’t.

Nothing changes.

Life goes on. Your roommate still doesn’t clean his dishes, and your history professor still continues to drone on in that monotone voice. Why? Because nothing ever changes in fleeting moments.

We have created an idea that Facebook likes and retweets are enough to make a difference, but they are not.

So, let’s make a tangible change. Let’s not be content with reading 50 headlines a day through our Twitter feed. Rather, let’s read one or two articles in full. One or two articles that are important to us, that we talk to our friends and teachers and families about. Articles that force us to Google names and places because we want to learn more. Articles that make us pick up the phone and call our representatives to ask what they are doing about it. Articles that make us pick up signs and march on cold, wet nights. Articles that can give us the power to pull down walls. How? Because reading, actually consuming, high-quality journalism makes us passionate.