A few more words than you’re used to

Michae Baisden/Opinion Editor

Generation Y lives in an unbelievable time where distance does not limit a person’s ideas, thoughts, feelings and creativity, allowing them to be heard and seen by thousands of others. The amount of connections that can be made is nearly inconceivable.

But in my experience, this constant stream of content we receive every day is often filtered, leaving out the important details or quickly glanced over.

What most often gets dismissed is hard news.

In 2012, the Newspaper Association of America Foundation conducted a study on young people to determine their newspaper readership.

To my surprise 74.9 percent of the subjects, who had spent one to three years in college, said they’d read some form of a newspaper within the last 30 days. However, they did not actually explore how much content this age group is actually getting.

A few weeks ago this section printed a piece about the drones controversy that’s been in the news for a few weeks.  When I discussed this with a fellow classmate she said, “What’s that?”

I don’t think that my face read, “Are you serious?” but I quickly briefed her about the article which discussed the drone situation in Pakistan.

My overall point here is not only that we aren’t reading the news, but the question, how are we so completely disconnected?

So often young people talk about changing the world. But how could you even think it feasible if you have no idea what’s going on in it?

The hours people spend reading newspapers is at the lowest amount it’s been in the past 10 years.  In 2003 the average American spent 198 hours per year, but now that number is 150 according to a survey conducted by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a major investment firm that publishes forecasts and reports on communication trends.

Today, most of us scroll through our social media news feeds to share and retweet links with the assumption that this is equivalent to news gathering. Or perhaps most of us don’t even believe it’s news gathering, perhaps most of us just don’t care to hear about world or local issues.

But I choose to believe that we are far more capable than that.

The blame is not only in ourselves but also in our social sites. They have molded us into people who don’t wish to read more than 100 words at a time.

There’s the signature ‘140 characters’ policy on Twitter. You can opt to get the Twitlonger plug-in, but what followers will go through all that trouble just to see the rest of your sentence.

On Facebook, I even find myself unwilling to read a friend’s lengthy status about their relationships or political views.

We have, more or less, grown up in a world where you have to explain your thoughts in 200 words or less, because if you don’t you’ve lost your audience’s attention.

The pace at which we try to get news information is equivalent to a teaser trailer, and that’s entirely too fast to get anything of substance. It barely works for movies, how could it work for news?

Sure, some of us follow credible news sources like The Washington Post, The Huffington Post or The New York Times, and I’m glad we’re going to several sources for news content, but are we clicking the link to their site to read the rest of the story?

Probably not.

It’s kind of disheartening, but at the same time I get it. I only read one or two stories from The Miami Herald per week but it’s something we all shouldn’t do in order to be informed citizens.

For many of us, there’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Thank God for those two making news interesting. But still, they are just pre-packaged, small servings of a few pieces of news, not going into all the detail that’s necessary.

Wherever you get your news is up to you, but get it.