Apathy prominent among college students

Daily Sundial

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Young people ages 18 to 24 tend to read less and are less concerned with social, economic and political issues, compared with people age 35 and older.

A report released last year by the Newspaper Association of America showed that only 39 percent of adults between the ages of 18-24 read the newspaper daily, as opposed to 67.4 percent of adults ages 35 and above.

The report also showed that 56 percent of readers ages 18 to 24 read the general news section of the paper, compared to 69 percent of readers over 35. The business section was read by 20 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds, compared with a 39 percent readership for those 35 and above. The editorial section also reported 17 percent readership from the 18 to 24 age group, exactly doubled by the 34 percent of readership for ages 35 and over.

According to David Solmitz, sociology professor in Maine, young adults do not get involved politically or read the newspaper because they lack time in their busy schedules.

Stephen Silla, senior biology major, said students who read newspapers likely view them online because it gives them an opportunity to read news while also doing their homework. He also said there is not much time to read the newspaper.

“There is really not that much time between school and work,” said Silla. “People are more into their social lives than what happens to the country.”

Fabiola Zepeda, freshman criminology major, said she believes students do not read newspapers because they are dull.

“It looks dry, (and) it needs color,” said Zepeda. “Usually, the newspaper does not have many illustrations, and it makes it look boring.”

A common opinion among college students is that politics is a dull topic.

“Politics is a very boring subject,” said Zepeda. “There is nothing that interests me about it.”

Nicholas Dungey, CSUN political science assistant professor, offers a philosophical explanation for the apathy our society experiences. He said he believes apathy arises from confusion.

“Apathy is born out of a deep confusion,” said Dungey. “It is a byproduct of the natural yearning for excellence and virtue, and expressing this in a political environment, but not being able to find a way for this to happen in our society.”

Dungey also said he believes our society has taught youth to be more inclined to pay attention to issues that involve entertainment or pleasure, and to reject those issues that do not fit our individual opinions of what constitutes happiness or pleasure.

“Society teaches us what a good life is,” said Dungey. “The good life is having a good education, a good job, paying your bills, having a nice car, and at the end, if you have time, you get involved politically.”

Dungey said, however, that he believes it is not too late for American youth to wake up.

“Politics is a necessary evil,” he said.