Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why young people don't read: A media student's first-person account

Saumya Iyer is a First Year student at Commits. She is keen to be a journalist, but like many of her peers she is not a "reader". We have had many discussions about this, and yesterday, at my request, she wrote a blog post on the subject. "It’s kind of ironic you see, I want to be a journalist but I don’t read," she writes in the post. "It does sound strange for someone who wants to be in journalism but I guess that has never bothered me too much."

She also addresses the issue of why young people have no interest in reading:

As to why my peers don’t read newspapers and books and all that, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, maybe they just don’t want to. Period.  I’m guessing they have other more interesting or not so interesting things in life to busy themselves with. They are fresh out of their teens, they don’t want to take on the burdens of this world just yet, they want to remain as ignorant as possible for as long as they can.

Read her post in its entirety: "How I learned to like writing and not read enough".

I am curious, very curious, to know what other people, young or otherwise, have to say about this post.

My response to Saumya, meanwhile, which I sent via e-mail after I finished reading her post, is given below:

I loved it. I feel a little closer to unravelling The Great Mystery of why, if they can help it, young people won't read newspapers or magazines.

But I feel I should tell you, at the risk of antagonising you (again), that if you want to be a GOOD writer, you need to be a good reader first.

Please read these [Reading Room] posts and share your thoughts:

1. If you want to be a versatile writer, here's some practical advice

2. "The five traits of a successful writer"

3. Here's how to make time to read 

4. If you don't read, you can't write
There is also what I consider a "must-read" post Why you must read the link to which I had sent long ago to Saumya as well as to her classmates.

As I wrote to Saumya yesterday, thanks to her post I am a little closer now to understanding why young people don't read. But that does not mean I am any less baffled. Is there a way to fix this?
  • Thank you, Saumya, for giving me permission to publish this on my blog.
  • UPDATE (March 21, 2013): "I love books, and anything else I can read. I read everything and anything that I can find. I will never stop learning. But I also know that I can’t read as much as I would like to read. There is simply not enough time NOW. I have to keep track of so many things, at the same time that it essentially becomes an exercise in prioritising. And unfortunately books and reading takes a backseat. And I think I know why." MAITREYA J.A., Saumya Iyer's classmate and co-editor of The Chronicle, the Commits newspaper. Read his blog post on the subject in its entirety here.