“Alright everyone, take out something to write with and a piece of paper. It’s time for this week’s news quiz.”
After this statement, you can expect to hear a multitude of sighs; the last confident breaths of hope exhaling from groggy students’ mouths.
As a journalism major, these current events quizzes occur more often than not. Due to this, I’ve had to train myself to read multiple news sources every day in preparation.
In today’s society, it has become more and more difficult to decipher reliable news sources from the unreliable, I’ll admit.
I’ll also admit it’s incredibly difficult not to get distracted from the real news with clickbait – purely entertainment stories.
Casey Lewis, as of Feb. 1, a former employee of Teen Vogue, and Liza Darwin, previously the editor of Nylon, strived to make the search for news simpler for the teenage generation—for girls in particular— with the creation of the email newsletter Clover.
According to The New York Times article posted Feb. 8 about the newsletter, Clover’s main goal is to provide meaningful news for a female generation that is bombarded with meaningless articles and distractions on a daily basis. Girls can subscribe to the newsletter and receive articles straight to their inbox.
In theory, this sounds like a thoughtful and creative solution to a societal problem. However I have a few qualms with Clover’s motive. I think one of the biggest discernments I have is why exactly they chose to target teenage girls specifically.
Being 19 years old, I don’t exactly identify with the teenage population so much as the young adults. I find this unnecessary attention insulting.
Before the rest of this article is prematurely labeled as a feminist rant, I would just like to pose some legitimate questions.
Are young women suddenly incapable of seeking reputable news sources on their own? What makes the male population different from the female so that young girls need to be handed news while boys don’t? Shouldn’t it be important to educate everyone on social issues and current events rather than a particular group?
In addition to providing reliable news sources in a single area for their audience, the other half of Clover’s initiative is to create a “quieter environment for teenage girls;” a place for them to read heartwarming stories, as well as express themselves in an encouraging forum, giving them a break from the clickbait culture in which they are immersed.
Being a woman, I can relate to the importance of this. I have compared myself to the models on the covers of the tabloids in the checkout line of the grocery store. I understand that body image has stereotypically been a bigger issue for girls than boys—although there is a counter argument to this statement that I won’t delve into.
However, from personal experience, I can honestly say the best way to overcome these insecurities and societal pressure is to train your mind to know what is right and wrong, what is genuine and what is fake, what is healthy and what is unhealthy for both mind and body.
If someone wants to read countless articles about Kylie Jenner and compare their body to hers, there’s no stopping them. However, it takes an intelligent, well-rounded person to realize that most, if not all, the pictures are photoshopped and to become confident enough with themselves to see these headlines and ignore them.
Broader than just this gender issue, this form of delivery discourages independent thinking, and furthermore, stunts the development of judgement. How can we expect individuals to learn what stories are legitimate and what is a hoax if they are spoon fed what they should be reading?
Now, there’s nothing to ensure Clover’s success. They aren’t suddenly going to buy out Seventeen Magazine, Teen Vogue and similar others create a worldwide monopoly. There is a likely chance that the newsletter won’t appeal to the teenage generation.
As explained by The New York Times, email generally isn’t the medium of choice for distributing important information to teens because teens are more savvy with social media and text messaging. The newsletter boasts about 16,000 subscribers since its premiere, but it can’t be confirmed whether these viewers are the intended teenage population.
As much as I appreciate Lewis’s and Darwin’s drive to educate teenage girls with worthy news—and as much as I praise their efforts for leaving their jobs with superficial magazines to do so— I don’t agree that sheltering teens’ news outlets is the solution to ignorance or discontent with self image.
In my opinion, the most beneficial strategy in preventing these views is for the reader to create a filter for themselves.
I am living proof.
Jordan Stovka is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.