Know your news

To some it isn’t real, to some it doesn’t matter because it never ever happens to them and for the rest of us, it’s world news. Browsing The Lawrentian each week you might not know anything about it and conclude that neither do we. That’s reasonable. I’ve had a number of Lawrentians ask why we don’t cover big events from around the world, claiming that it would be beneficial for students to read about them in The Lawrentian.

I can’t think of any compelling reason for a newspaper like ours to begin reporting on world news. We’re The Lawrentian. We can’t compete with The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, The Economist or the many other large newspapers I haven’t mentioned.

Just a rough comparison of resources should make this clear. We at The Lawrentian don’t have their budgets, staff size, oversea correspondents or time. We’ve got tricycles and they’ve got Ford GTs.

Now, like anyone else from my generation, a decade of sports movies has ingrained into my psyche a desire and belief that the underdog always triumphs, but in this case, it’s best to assume there’s no way we could fill that role. Whatever The Lawrentian might hope to report on is most likely going to be second- or third-hand, passed on to us by one of those major news outlets.

Some of my friends have said that regardless of these facts, students would still benefit from some exposure to world news, explaining that most students don’t know a lot about world affairs. I don’t know how much the average Lawrentian knows about current world events, but I agree that knowing more is better.

My contention, then, is that a local college newspaper is not the place to get it—nor is it our obligation to provide it—especially considering the 24-hour news cycle.

While any of those newspapers can release a story, make a mistake, correct it, make another mistake, correct it and then learn that the source had it wrong in less than two hours, The Lawrentian can only do one of those in a week. For a governmental comparison, we’re as fast as Congress.

When students want to learn about current events for the VR trivia round, they don’t bum rush The Lawrentian stack, they stick with extremely informative and deep coverage from the highly respected pinnacle of journalism, Yahoo News.

Before the advent of the Internet there may have been a legitimate reason for The Lawrentian to report on national and international news, but now that most students are carting around laptops it just doesn’t make sense. Anything we can do, they can do better.

Fun fact: When Daft Punk wrote “Harder Better Faster Stronger” they were actually just comparing The Lawrentian to the large newspapers. Students should get their world news from BBC and NPR, if only because Daft Punk tells us to.

Besides, if The Lawrentian decided to cover world news, how would Lawrentians learn about all the important events happening around campus? Something would have to be cut.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that—while Specht Pages is certainly the first thing on the axing pole—we would all prefer Mr. Specht’s sage advice on all things Lawrence-related over, say, current death tolls in Crimea or Afghanistan.

Every professional newspaper reports on the international news. That’s their thing, their niche. We’re better off reporting on local news because no one else will. If Paul Krugman started writing about Lawrence University I would certainly be flattered, but I would also ask, “Why?”

 

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