Stay Informed, Read Local Papers


You can guarantee that news and media outlets will begin to focus on the midterm elections in the following weeks. In fact, with just a little over eight weeks left until the actual election day (Nov. 8), there’s a good chance you may have already heard about the elections. 

While the next presidential election won’t occur for another two years, the midterm elections are still a significant event in American politics. Occurring every two years, the midterms have consequences on nearly every level of government. On the national and federal level, the entirety of the House of Representatives (that’s 435 seats) and about a third of the Senate (35 seats) will be contested and decided by election results. On a more local level, state legislative seats and municipal school board elections, just to name a few, will show up on the ballot. 

For many students, political news and information come by way of social media outlets. A Pew Research Center study from last year found that a significant number of the American populace, especially younger voters, get news from social media.

While social media can sometimes be a valid information tool, there are very few structures supporting reliable information and a real concern for the rapid spread of misinformation. 

It’s important that students with political concern (and this should be all students) be aware of other reliable news sources. 

National publications, such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have received much acclaim as giants of the media industry, but their coverage only extends to stories of national importance. When midterm elections roll around and the ballots ask you to make a choice regarding local issues, national newspapers can only inform so much about local politics. 

This is why it is incredibly important that students also look to local papers and news outlets for reliable coverage of stories that affect the communities around them. A Fordham student that sought out news directly about the Bronx might find themselves heading to for borough news. Information about the broader New York City can be found at a number of different publications that cover the whole city, like the Gothamist or local divisions of national outlets (ABC7 or NBC4, just to name a few). 

Students should also seek out information about specific elections on trusted political databases. One quick look on Ballotpedia, for example, will show you a sample ballot. Within a few minutes you’ll find out that people voting within the zip code 10458 (where Rose Hill is located), within New York’s 15th Congressional District, will have to make decisions on at least four ballot measures, federal congressional seats, the New York governor, other gubernatorial seats, state legislature and even civil court seats in Bronx county. 

Local elections are rarely as exciting or dramatic as national ones and often garner less attention. Many students, even those who are well-informed politically, are more likely to know things about contested elections in other states (such as the Pennsylvania Senate Race, which involves Dr. Oz) than they are about the races taking place in their own districts. While it’s good to have an idea of what’s going on around the country, remember that the elections that take place close to home are the ones that will have the most effect on you. 

Keep in mind that, while congressional elections are important, elections for state legislature are also vital. In 2022, 88 out of the 99 states legislative chambers will hold elections. There are a variety of issues, including abortion, that will be debated and decided by state legislatures in the coming years. To vote confidently in these elections, one has to understand the candidates and the platforms that they represent. 

It’s not easy to keep up with political events and become a well-informed voter. Between classes and clubs, the last thing many Fordham students feel like doing is devoting more of their free time to research on little-known candidates and issues. But it is necessary. As the local student newspaper, The Fordham Ram cannot stress enough how instrumental journalism on all levels is in keeping an informed electorate population. If the semblance of democracy is to be maintained in any form whatsoever, it’s necessary for voters to be reliably informed in the political matters that control countless aspects of life around them.