ROSE BOSTWICK (GRADE 11)
Walk into any drugstore or supermarket and expect to immediately see a slew of headlines about “Where the 90210 Stars are Now” or “Gigi Hadid’s Courtside Style.” Most people heard the news of Kim Kardashian’s robbery almost immediately, but far fewer people were talking about the Kremlin’s announcement of nuclear warfare preparedness drills to be carried out by Russian citizens, which occurred the same day. In our fame-obsessed society, important world news is consistently overshadowed by reports on celebrity lives.
Not only does the media constantly bombard us with information about celebrities, but these “stories” often range from slightly offensive to downright degrading. Online forums are plastered with articles about a female pop-star who gained a bit of weight, a TV personality who may or may not have gotten lip injections, and some actor’s suspected sex life. This kind of reporting not only teaches children poor lessons about the values our society holds, but eclipses other stories in the news and draws attention away from important issues.
Now, I’m not saying that I think media outlets should stop reporting on celebrities. Personally, I love pop culture and reading tabloids and online news articles about famous people. In fact, I think that often informing oneself about the tragedies happening in the world can be very taxing when done all at once, and seeing more lighthearted material can be a de-stressing technique if not just more fun. However, I think it is important to realize that just because much of the media may be saturated in shallow articles and Top 10 lists, that doesn’t mean there is nothing else newsworthy happening. It doesn’t mean you can sit back and ignore everything else. Although it may not be the most readily available information on our Facebook feeds, we can all strive to make ourselves more aware of what is going on in the world.
The media should change, but we ourselves must change as well. While the content of the media molds our interests, it was created by and for our informative purposes, so we in turn shape the media. Reporting on celebrities and pop culture stories being prioritized is common because those are the kinds of stories that get hits and attention. We don’t have to fall into that trap. By showing interest in global affairs, politics, and current events, we can drive more traffic to what matters. We need to work to shape the information we receive ourselves, because changing how the media itself works is a tedious if not impossible practice. In this way, we will become better informed and more open-minded about the nuanced issues surrounding the Dakota Pipeline path and the random man who just bought Kendall Jenner a Rolls-Royce. Win-win.
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