Kangaroos loose in Australia with laser guns

Obviously that headline caught your attention, and I honestly can’t blame you. “Clickbait” seems to be plaguing social media in vast amounts lately, providing ridiculous but intriguing headlines to pull readers in, usually for a subject that isn’t really worth your time. So, what’s wrong with being interested in Chris Pratt’s Starbucks order or the shocking thing this woman does every day to lose 25 pounds in a month (you’ll never guess what it is!)?

Absolutely nothing—as long as this isn’t the only bit of “journalistic” content you read in a day. If that’s the case, then there are several things wrong with this.

For one, it completely slanders the name of journalism. True journalism is about reporting on relevant information to keep the public informed, as well as raise awareness of certain things to try and make a difference by keeping the public up-to-date. When the public sees “news sources”, in the broadest sense of the word, posting about “the insane thing you have in your house that could change your life”, it ruins the name of journalism. It further supports the idea of “fake news” and discredits the rest of the facts and important stories that come from true journalists and reporters.

Certain people in our country are currently running an attack on the validity of journalism, and these headlines and “news stories” do nothing to help the case of journalists aiming to educate. In an attempt to simply get as many views as possible, clickbait sullies the purpose of journalism.

Secondly, it brings attention away from the true issues at stake today. Too often you see people arguing over whether or not Kylie Jenner is actually pregnant, and not enough are concerned about the hardships our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico are currently facing. While society is worrying about whether or not “Brangelina” is back together, Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for almost three years. Why do we not express the same outrage over this as we do over celebrities and weight loss secrets?

Instead of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, journalism should be focused on “keeping up” with our fellow human beings, attempting to make a difference, and raising awareness on important issues.

However, there is truly nothing wrong with seeking out alternative news stories or clickbait, as long as it is balanced with an attempt at staying updated with the rest of the world’s news. If we put as much effort into reading “The 10 most overrated Halloween costumes every basic girl will be wearing this October” as we do reading “Week of wildfires polluting air as much as one year of cars”, we could be more aware of the issues other people are facing around the world, and perhaps finding ways we could provide the support they need.

This doesn’t mean that you have to quit planning your Halloween costume, grab a water hose, and start fighting the wildfires in California, but it wouldn’t hurt for us to all become a little more aware of issues plaguing others around the world.

As natural disasters, political discord, and general contention continues to plague our country and our world, I greatly urge you to stray further from “How this Kardashian keeps her hair shiny,” and closer to headlines that will allow you to stay informed and aware, as well as form your own opinions. The world needs your help now more than ever; begin by actively seeking out beneficial and accurate news.

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