Our world news editor, Sean Webster, takes a lot of flak from our staff, but with good reason. He is responsible for a section of the newspaper that receives little attention and always has the potential to be outdated.
We affectionately refer to Webster as our “world snooze” editor and joke that no one reads his section, so it doesn’t really matter. It may seem harsh, but that is nothing in comparison to our humor related to other sections and we’re joking … sort of.
I assume that most people that religously read the world news section are writers for the section, Webster’s friends, or people who already like and follow world news. The people that already follow world news are probably bored by the section because they already know about the news we’re reporting. You see, Webster has a difficult dilemma, because the stories we send to the printer on Tuesday night will probably be slightly outdated by our release date on Thursday.
I will admit that I don’t know nearly as much about the world as I should. I set the homepage of my computer to nytimes.com, but I still don’t take the time to read as much as I should before switching to Gmail or Facebook. I would wonder how many people are in the same position as I am, rely on Webster’s section to catch up on their world news, or pass it by all together.
According to Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 13 percent of people age 18-25 rely on “The Daily Show” as a key source for information about the world. I guess that 13 percent isn’t that bad, but what happened to the other 87 percent? Pew also released statistics that 34 percent of that same age group isn’t getting any news on a daily basis.
Last Friday, in my American electronic media class, we were asked to write down the latest piece of news that we had heard. Then our professor asked us to write down a second news story. There were several kids in the class that couldn’t write down anything. I would say at least 60 percent of the class that did have a news story, wrote down Tiger Woods as their first piece of news. Most students couldn’t come up with a second story, but those who did wrote down the man who committed suicide by flying into the Internal Revenue Service building. Our professor didn’t seem to be surprised with our answers, but I was.
I’m pretty sure if we had to do the assignment in regards to only world news most of the class would have been left with blank sheets of paper. So that brings me back to my original thought. Are we justified in calling Webster the world snooze editor? Who is reading his section and does it really matter? I think it does, but I think we also all need to be more aware of what is going on.
Webster and his writers do a pretty good job of picking stories that are still relevant on Thursday, but we should all be able to call it old news when we see it. There is no reason we need to be in that 34 percent of people our age that aren’t getting any news on a daily basis. Webster can help us on Thursdays, but we need to do something about the other six days of the week.