News Literacy Project Student Adviser Laments Failure to Interest Her Peers in News of Importance

Louise Dufresne, a member of the News Literacy Project’s youth advisory committee, has a letter to the editor in the Jan. 30 editions of The New York Times.

She writes that "failing newspapers are a reflection of our failure to keep my generation interested in issues of national and international importance."

Louise is a senior at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Del., and edits the school newspaper, The Cardinal.

Her letter was written in response to a Jan. 27 op-ed in the Times that suggested saving endangered newspapers by turning them into "nonprofit, endowed institutions—like colleges and universities."

Louise’s letter is printed below:

To the Editor:

We certainly cannot afford to lose the careful reporting offered by American newspapers, but sending a check is not the answer.Even if we were able to financially ensure the continued existence of American newspapers, how can we ensure citizen engagement? It is far easier to browse oversimplified headlines on the Internet than it is to pick up a newspaper and read an article in depth.This is why only a small handful of students at my boarding school read newspapers. The failing newspapers are a reflection of our failure to keep my generation interested in issues of national and international importance.

Louise Dufresne, Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 28, 2009