My dear friend, Christi Nesslage is a seminarian at Duke Divinity School. We met at Anderson University, when she was a student and I was a guest speaker, in her religion class. Shortly after we met, she began coming to church at Roots of Life, and began her own journey to becoming a Lutheran pastor. I am so proud of her tenacity, courage, wit and wisdom. She is already a gift to the church. What she said in a recent post resonated with me and I hope it does you, dear reader. Where do we get our news?

Words from a young seminarian:
“Within the past few months I’ve seen a lot of posts, often screenshots of a Facebook post or a Tweet of an event or person that seems to be newsworthy, with the caption that says something along the lines of “why doesn’t the news/media/etc cover this?” Or “how is this not getting more coverage?” When I see these posts, I often want to stop and write a comment addressing why these stories “aren’t covered by the media.” But I don’t share a lot on here, and I don’t comment on a post if I know there might be disagreement or heated discussion. I want to address this because I keep repeatedly seeing this kind of journalistic-skepticism SO OFTEN. I’ve seen it in terms of the derecho that hit Cedar Rapids, in terms of BLM protests or clean-ups, in terms of COVID outbreaks, in terms of missing children, and MANY other topics. I want to ask you this before you share another post with the sentiment “why isn’t the news covering THIS?” ask yourself, “where and how do I get my news?”
Where and how you get your news matters.
Ask yourself genuinely about how you consume news media or journalism. Is it by seeing stories shared on Facebook and Twitter from your friends? Do you maybe follow a local TV Chanel’s social media? Are you subscribed to your local newspaper? Do you have a subscription to The New York Times or Washington Post for national stories?
Do you get news alerts from politically central agencies like AP or Reuters?
Or are you following simply what others share on Facebook and Twitter (and even Instagram and Reddit)? We know that social media feeds reflect the biases and prejudices that we have.
Social media feeds are echo chambers, like silos, in which Facebook and Twitter can show you content that will get clicks and interactions so they can get ad revenue. Online social media platforms can be a platform where news outlets do share stories, but they are NOT news outlets. We know there is a lot of misinformation on social media because no one is fact-checking posts.
However, the AP and Reuters and the NYT and local newspapers and news channels, and other news agencies have fact-checkers that do verify their news stories. When they mess up, they post retractions. There’s a sense of responsibility to the truth, to make sure what is shared is accurate and timely. This is not the case with many social media pages that share viral content.
When you see a post and want to share it because you’ve not seen the story in the news before that moment, take a few minutes to go to several of these reliable news sources to see how they are covering the story.
You might also realize that you aren’t getting your news from any news outlet at all, you might be simply hoping that you see current events posted on your social media timeline. If that’s the case, even a story about how it will rain this week will seem to not be getting any news coverage. That is to say, if you aren’t following the news, you won’t know what the news is covering.
So your task moving forward is this: check multiple news sources before sharing something with a caption along the lines of “why isn’t the media covering this?” The chances are that it is being covered, but you’ve not seen it yet.
If you care about local issues, now is a great time to support a local paper. I like INDY Week, The News & Observer, North Carolina Public Radio- WUNC, and the Duke Chronicle. For local news. Paying for a subscription or donating to support local news puts money right back into your own communities. For national and international news: the AP, NYT, and BBC are my go-tos. NYT has done great COVID coverage and has been covering the outbreaks in Iowa.
You are responsible for your own media consumption, it is your duty to be informed and know what's happening in the world and your community. Facebook and Twitter will not spoon-feed you the news you need to know to be an informed and compassionate person.”
Finally, in terms of missing or trafficked children, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is an organization that has a LOT of data about missing kids. The tragic reality is that a lot of missing children and youth are runaways or are kidnapped by a family member who does not have legal custody. Human Trafficking is a huge issue in the US, but it has more to do with labor abuses for migrant workers than kids snatched off the streets in the suburbs. Polaris is a good resource to learn more about the reality of human trafficking in and outside of the US.
~ Christina Nesslage, Sage, Seminarian and a partner in the Gospel of Christ.~

Food for thought dear readers. Even though this was a blog meant to be shared on social media, I received permission from Christi to share it only with The Times, but you can find her on FB. She is getting ready to begin an internship with Lutheran Campus Ministry, while still attending to her work at Duke.

Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www. rolcommunity.com