It’s hard to imagine, in today’s world of immediate news, that a significant event, affecting the lives of countless people, could happen yet not be known for days, weeks, or even years.

Perhaps then, as we contemplate the question of which invention or development has had the most important impact on the world, we should recognize the value of 24/7 access to information.

In whatever way we prefer, using whatever means work best, people everywhere now have the ability to find the news…instead of waiting for the news to find them.

Add to that the fact that “news” is no longer only a reactive function involving a messenger and a recipient. It has become a living, breathing experience, influenced by those partaking in the moment, sharing as it happens, evaluating as it occurs.

No doubt, there is still value in the traditional information-sharing process. Immediacy can sometimes create confusion and inaccuracy, which may be minimized through a more measured, careful approach to knowledge.

But now, the noun – “news” – traditionally considered a report of what has happened – can also be a verb, a communal action that encourages involvement and recognizes the value of the participants.

It’s hard to remember the days when things were different; in fact, there’s an entire generation of people who’ve never known a world without this type of access. It’s become an expectation and an assumption. But it really wasn’t that long ago when news traveled slowly, and words of hope and change remained unknown for too long.

Despite the challenges that come with a never-ending supply of information, I’m grateful to live in a time when it is possible. Because words, experiences, and news can transform the world.

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