In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day next week, The Washington Post has published a fascinating article entitled The Story of How Michael King Jr. Became Martin Luther King Jr. Did you know that MLK’s birth name was actually Michael? Or that MLK’s father visited Nazi Germany in the summer of 1934? I didn’t.
Newspapers can teach us things we didn’t know we didn’t know. Because we love knowledge, BYU Law Library has added online access to The Washington Post to our collection of resources. (You must use this link for access, whether you are on- or off-campus. You can also find the link in the Library’s A-Z Database List on our home page. Just click on Washington Post. Unfortunately, you cannot set up a personal account at this time.)
I love reading a good newspaper. Lately I have been pondering Gayle Somers’ piece in the Wall Street Journal about losing her son to drugs (Life is Worth Living, Even if It Is Painful and Short), David Brooks’ piece in the New York Times on social shaming (The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture), and the New York Times reporters’ unflagging effort to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen (In Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen, No Refuge on Land or Sea).
We have come to expect neutrality from our news, criticizing or shunning news that does not fit our worldview. But as Ian Crouch wrote for The New Yorker in What is the Value of a Newspaper?, newspapers historically have been vehicles for sharing political viewpoints. Spreading different viewpoints is good; spreading rumors, false facts, and “fake news” is not. Reading a quality paper supports quality journalism and arms you against the never-ending onslaught of fake news and intolerance that has exploded in the past few years (See No, A.I. Won’t Solve the Fake News Problem). And it will make you a better conversationalist.
So click on that Washington Post link. Sign up for a NY Times account (contact me). Pick up one of the copies of the Wall Street Journal we have in the library, the student commons, and even the lunchroom (yes, you can take those). Your mind will thank you for it.