Journalism Matters: Here’s Why

Most young Americans liken the media to a landline telephone: useful, but on the decline and an artifact that only older people use. This fallacious attitude is understandable given society’s shift toward digital communication, and now surveys find that over 54 percent of teens frequently get their news from social media. However, journalism is far from dead, and young people need to do their part to be informed citizens. This starts and ends with real journalism, not social media. 

Although news coverage has moved to a digital medium, that doesn’t make everything you see posted online fact, and young people frequently make this mistake. Clicking through Instagram Stories as a teenager will likely consist of peer accounts that repost some sort of news, be this entertainment news, politics, news from activism accounts or reports from reputable sources. All of this is fine information, but being an informed citizen doesn’t stop there; in fact, it’s just the beginning.        

Frequently, these shared posts are presented in a way to rake in more shares, headlines are scandalous and misleading, complementing images are upsetting and sources can sometimes be misquoted or misrepresented—even mainstream sources are guilty of this. This is the subtle misinformation that youth face frequently, and it differs greatly from the blatant “fake news” that we are constantly being warned of, but we need to be just as vigilant. 

Next time you see a post that looks “news-like” on social media, read the full story or make a quick Google search to know the truth for yourself. Make a habit of this practice, especially if you intend on sharing a post yourself. 

Social media is a great gateway for news, but not a substitute. Journalism enriches society and quality of life to no end, but society can also hurt just as much from intentional and unintentional continuation of misinformation. To combat this, carve out a chunk of your day to read, watch or listen to mainstream local and national news. Diversify what you watch and read and pay attention to any sort of biases. Recognizing bias is an invaluable skill that will help you form your own opinions independently, and hone analytical thinking skills that will help in school and beyond. Growing up is learning to be an adult and being informed is a civic duty. Consuming news from reputable sources is a prerequisite to fulfilling this duty. 

Here at The Obsidian we’re committed to establishing ourselves as a youth-first news source. Read on and establish good habits; being informed has no age requirement, get ahead and stay ahead now.


  • Wes McGovern

    When Wes McGovern isn’t scouting out stories for The Obsidian or acquainting himself with the history and minute details of journalism — past and present — you can find him juggling his 5 AP classes, studying politics, reading some form of news or blowing off steam at the mountain. Wes is very excited to lead the first cohort of Future Journalists of America and believes very strongly in the mission of inspiring future generations to pursue the very rewarding, and often chaotic world that is disseminating the truth.

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