Friday, September 28, 2007

College Life

I’m Special, Are You?
By Gunes Atalay

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Tyler Durden's quote in the movie Fight Club doesn't sound very nice does it? How would you feel about telling that to your children? Most parents today believe in giving everything they can to their kids, and letting them know how precious they are. It seems like a good idea, to give kids some self-confidence and self-respect. However, this was completely opposite years ago. Most parents believed in making their kids think they were not “that” special. That sounds very cruel doesn't it? However many people think this way of change in parenting wasn't a good idea at all.

Donna White, 45, the mother of a 19 year-old college student answered immediately with a loud, “Hell no. Today's kids are already spoiled with everything they have, and that is already a problem,” she said. “I never repeated that sentence (You are special) to my daughter. I showed her my trust in other ways, and that is enough for her self confidence.”

White’s friend, Cassandra Sales, 37, mother of a 14 year-old girl, said, “I did that make mistake. She is the most important thing in my life. I kept letting her know about this, and I always told her how special she is. Now when I look at her, I see a narcissistic little teenager. It makes me feel kind of guilty. But my parents never told me I am special, they never showed their love in words, and I always craved it. So doing the opposite with my own daughter felt like the right thing to do.”

After hearing from mothers, what do young people think about whether they were pampered? Augusto Ferrer, 23, a recent college graduate, said, “It depends on the child, however it definitely doesn't seem like a good idea to me. It makes them egocentric.” When asked how he was raised, Ferrer said, “I am narcissistic because of my parents. And also level headed.” He continued, “And I am surprisingly not confident at all. I think the way they kept spoiling me, and telling me I am unique and special made me narcissistic. However, I didn't do anything on my own to make myself feel special. I guess I couldn't fool myself only with words. I feel like I need to accomplish something that will satisfy me, to be able to move to self confidence from narcissism.”

Samantha Dufault, an 18 year-old college freshman, laughed at the question of whether parents are making their children feel special. “People have to live black or white nowadays. Either treat your children like they are the most valuable people on earth, or treat them like they are nothing,” she said. “Why can't they find a way in middle? One of them makes children feel like they are the king of the world, and they really are not, the other one makes them hate themselves the rest of their life. I believe my parents did the best thing. They told me I am special all the time, but they didn't complete their sentence there. They always said I was very special, but so was the rest of the human beings. I always had self-confidence, but I also respect other people. Because I know, they are as special as I am.”

Dufault’s answer may be a solution to this problem of coddling children too much. However, who knows what is the best way to raise children? They don't come with manuals, do they?

College Life

Self-Centered Or Self-Sufficient?
By Therese M. Whelan

Today’s college students have their own websites, facebook profiles with hundreds of pictures of themselves online, and post their videos on YouTube. They attend colleges where they can study whatever they choose and are told that they can become anything they want to be. Diversity is accepted and individualism is encouraged. However, a recent study by five psychologists found that American college age students are more narcissistic and self-centered than the previous generation, and they worry that the trend could be harmful to society.

The study conducted between 1982 and 2006, asked 16,475 college students to complete an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. The inventory asked for responses to questions such as “I think I am a special person,” and “I can live my life any way I want.” The results of this study show that scores have risen since 1982. In 2006, the study says two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, which is 30 percent more than in 1982.

But young people are quick to defend themselves. This study was conducted over 24 years, which means that about 686 students were surveyed each year. Is that really enough evidence to judge an entire generation? Does a little narcissism prevent altruism?

“Just because I care about myself doesn’t mean I don’t care about other people,” says Sarah Fierro, 18. She said she and her friends are, “very political and are interested in volunteer work.”

Psychologists worry that the rise in narcissistic tendencies will damage college age student’s future relationships. The study says that overly narcissistic people "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors." The rise in narcissism is cited by parents who teach their children that they are special to raise their self-esteem. Jean Twenge, the study’s lead writer believes "current technology fuels the increase in narcissism. By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube.”

However, recent evidence also shows an increase in the number of young people participating in volunteer work. And websites such as MySpace and Facebook are being used as platforms to share ideas and information, not just pictures and gossip.

Youth ambition can be confused with narcissism. Today’s youth faces much more pressure to succeed. Competition is a big part of most college students lives. There is competition to get into a good college, to get jobs and internships. Students look for a way to separate themselves from the average.

Chris Larson, 21, thinks that his peers are misunderstood. “Yeah, in some ways we are more self-centered,” says Larson. “But you have to stand out, especially in New York where it’s easy to blend into a crowd.”

Narcissism is expected in young people, but to say that it is a defining factor of their generation would be ridiculous. If today’s college students think highly of themselves, it is not without reason. Every generation wants to change the world, and believes that they have the power to do so. The current generation sees the ways their parent’s generation has made mistakes, and wants to believe that they have the ability to fix it. Individuality and independence should not be condemned. It’s the individuals who make up a society and they can accomplish a lot more by thinking that they are unique.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Future Of Newspapers

Young People, News, And The Future
By Chris Evans

Our generation gets an unfair rap as slackers, thanks to many a teen comedy and countless anti-drug public service announcements. However, I think those of us who are close enough to the demographic to have a clearer view of young people’s daily habits know that is far from the truth. Our mothers and fathers, who are accustomed to reading the daily newspaper to find out what has happened in the world in the past 24 hours, are using themselves as an example of comparison when assessing our news habits.

But considering the technological advancements in recent years it is unfair to compare the traditions of yesterday to the fast-paced, multi-tasked world of 2007 where information doesn’t need to be bleakly placed on a rectangular black and white piece of paper, and instead can be accessed instantly from any device with a modem. Through talking to some people under the age of 25 who consider themselves to be responsible, aware Americans I’ve discovered experiences that directly contrast the research done by the Shorenstein Center, which was the basis for the New York Times article, “Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice.”

Jane Hirt, editor of Red Eye, was exactly right when she said in the article, “They pick and choose what they want on their iPods, what to TiVo and watch whenever they want, and so forth.”

After talking with some college students with slight variances in age, I’ve found that many young people get their news from outlets that appeal to their sense of speed and control—such as the Internet. Jessica Dragonetti, 20, a junior at Marymount Manhattan College majoring in English said, “Every night when I come home from class I check CNN.com to see what has happened throughout the day. It’s the easiest way for me stay updated on what’s happening in America and in the rest of the world.”

Even though Dragonetti adds, “I don’t really have much time for TV”, she does still rely on television primarily for local news. “The Internet is a great place for news that’s affecting the nation, but watching the local news on TV is the best way for me to find out what’s happening right here in Manhattan.” This is slightly in line with the findings that young people are more likely to find their news on TV than on the web, but in Dragonetti’s case, she uses both mediums for daily news.

Grace Dawson, 19, who attends the Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh, Pa., says she has to rely on the Internet for her news because she doesn’t have cable. “I don’t really need TV because these days everything is on the Internet,” Dawson said. “When I log onto America Online a window pops up that tells me what the important news stories were that day, and if anything catches my interest, I’ll read it. That’s the great thing about online news.” She continues, “If something bores me, I don’t have to read it. If one story out of an entire page of news interests me, I only have to read that one. That’s different from TV where I have to sit there for an hour listening to boring stuff just to wait for the last ten minutes where the real story comes on.”

Dawson and Dragonetti are only two people out of millions of young people all across America, but their experiences are in-line with my own news habits as well as most other people in my demographic that I know. I’m not sure if maybe 1,800 people weren’t enough to do an accurate study on the behavior of young people when it comes to news, or if Dawson and Dragonetti are simply anomalies. But one thing I will say for sure is that the issue is much more complicated than the New York Times article would have you believe.

The Future Of Newspapers

Young People And Their News Habits
By Therese Whelan

In this age of easy technology where young people spend about six hours a day consuming media, it seems that teens have ample opportunity to stay informed on news. However, according to a study by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, teenagers and young adults are not regularly following the news.

“I like being na├»ve,” says Shana Whelan, 17. She says she doesn’t pay attention to the news on a daily basis, because with her busy life it’s “easy to forget about it.” Like Shana, most teens and young adults do not find time to follow the news regularly. The study titled, “Young People and News,” found that only 16 percent of people studied aged 18-30 said they read the news daily, and half of all teens and young adults said they rarely, if ever read a newspaper. This is compared to the 35 percent of adults over age 30 who read the paper daily.

Unlike their parent’s generation, young people who do follow the news lack a routine. The majority prefers to receive their news from the television or radio, rather than in print or online. But this seems to be a less focused method than the traditional reading of a paper. According to the study, 81 percent of teens only listen to radio news if it comes on while listening to something else. And 60 percent of young adults only watch a portion of the national TV newscasts before switching to another channel.

When Colleen McGowan, age 50, was growing up she remembers the daily paper arriving every morning. There was one television in the house, and her parents watched the news every night. She says that now she mostly sticks to newspapers, because she doesn’t “like to have the images” of war in her head. Today, many households have multiple TVs and young people are free to make their own viewing selections, and news is not their first choice. The long war in Iraq seems to be far away from most young people’s thoughts, though it is a daily topic in the news.

Some teens find they are not very interested in things that don’t directly affect them. Whelan says she and her friends don’t pay to much attention to things that don’t “involve us,” but she expects when she is older she will have a greater interest in the news. She predicts that soon, most news will be watched on cell phones and computers. “I think it would be much easier to watch a five minute clip on 10 different topics,” said Whelan.

It is uncertain what changes the newspaper industry will have to make to attract young people who want abbreviated news. Teens today are used to being able to make selections about what music they want to hear, shows they want to watch and what they want to read. Will it take a glossy magazine like newspaper full of pictures to attract their attention? Today, big news can travel faster than ever, but the key is making young people care enough that they want to be informed.

The Future Of Newspapers

Reading Newspapers Is A Dying Practice
By Glenn Burwell

In reading the article, “Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice,” I identified with the authors opinion of young people receiving their news in nontraditional ways, and that print news becoming less significant. It is my personal belief that newspapers are obsolete.

The traditional newspaper is much too cumbersome, the stories are hard to find, and the pictures are rarely in color. Receiving news from the Internet and is not only faster, but it is far more accessible. When I am on the go and I need to catch up on current events, I don’t want to hunt for a newspaper stand and pay to read one or two stories. It is unnecessary for one to go through such a hassle when a few clicks on a Blackberry or on any standard cell phone with internet access will deliver the same stories quickly and in living color, and maybe even with the option audio video.

I spoke with two of my co-workers, Ally Garcia, 22, and Ian Wilson 19, to gain other perspectives on the subject. “There is something just…I don’t know… classic about actually reading a newspaper,” said Garcia in an overly excited response to my question. Garcia, whose father used to read the newspaper every morning, grew up seeing the newspaper in her home every morning. As a child she would try to impress her father by reading stories from the front page. “My dad would challenge me to read the paper, which consequentially made it fun for me… it was sort of a game to me which became a habit that just stuck,” she said.

Wilson, only three years younger than Garcia, has an entirely different perspective on the subject. “I can’t remember the last time I touched a newspaper, they’re pretty archaic,” he said. Wilson spoke about being deemed as less informed because of his unorthodox method of receiving his news. “I can’t stand the fact that some people think that because I am young and I don’t have a newspaper bundled in my hand, that I am not informed. I consider myself a fairly intelligent guy and I like to keep up with my current events just like I do with modern technology.” Wilson’s main point was much like mine -- it doesn’t matter how you receive the news, just as long as you do.

Just from the people that I spoke to it is obvious how opinions vary on the subject of the newspaper. Although some people may still read the conventional newspaper, the fact is undeniable that newspapers as a medium for receiving news is a dying practice. The news will most certainly always be here, the newspaper, though, may not.

The Future Of Newspapers

The Newspaper: A New Entry To The Endangered Species List
By Jamie Cohen

Every month there is a newer and better iPod, and the old designs are history, completely dispensable to the loyal and devoted Apple customers. We have become a society that has fastened itself to the idea that we should never get comfortable with what we have, because new technology is always right around the corner. So, with the new electric cars and phones that can give you a live broadcast of the evening news, it’s amazing that newspapers in their old fashioned way have survived this long. It is clear though, that even tradition in its ways can become obsolete.

While news itself will never be obsolete, the way we get it is changing. Newspapers are available every morning, but what happens when news breaks at noon? Sure, there is always the television, but what if there’s no television in sight, that only leaves the radio, computer and your cell phone. These are things that give you the news right now. There’s no waiting, no need to even turn pages. The push of a button gives you what you want, when you want it.

Growing up, my parents always read the newspaper. I’ve never picked one up except to throw it away. I wondered if other people’s opinions my age matched my own. Neil Scibelli is a student at Marymount Manhattan College, and says he’s up to date with news in the world today, I was curious as to how he got the news.

“I get it online.”

I followed up by asking why he doesn’t open a newspaper.

“It’s not as convenient, if I have the Internet available to me why would I go out to get a newspaper when the computer will tell me the same amount of information if not more.”

With the news being available at every touch of a button, I couldn’t help but wonder-and ask; do you think that the news will one day become documentation that is only available to those who could afford a cell phone, computer and television? Because if this is how news is becoming more and more available, then those who can’t afford to buy the computer and cell phone technically can’t afford the news.

“Well then those are the people who can go get a quarter and buy a newspaper,” Scibelli said.

But what happens when the newspapers don’t exist, or let’s say they do, but with the internet having constant updates, what happens when today’s newspapers are yesterday’s news? Other people’s opinions are in the complete opposite direction, determined if not angry at the thought of newspapers disappearing. Sandra Goodman is a math teacher and Testing Coordinator at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts; she is a loyal consumer of The Daily News. I asked her where she gets her news. “Besides from a newspaper, the T.V., the radio or computer,” she said.

I asked the same question regarding news becoming unattainable to those who can’t afford the technology that is endangering the newspapers. “No, there will always be newspapers, so they can always find the news that way. There’s also word of mouth, it’s the largest form of finding out news, and the poor…will always know the news just as much as the rich,” Goodman said.

Why do you still read the newspaper if you get your news from the radio, computer and T.V.?

“I’ve always gotten the newspaper.”

It’s an interesting answer so I explain something to her. First I ask her age, she’s 42 (P.S. never ask a woman her age), I ask her how long she has been a consumer of The Daily News. At least 20 years. I tell her that that is 1,040 weeks and every week she spends four dollars on the newspaper (that includes the Sunday charge of one dollar). When I tell her that she could have a little over four thousand dollars within those 20 years, she makes no response, I get a smirk from her when I tell her that if you have access to the Internet, the news is free.

The Future Of Newspapers

Constant Change
By Christine Levitin-Breyette

The era of newspapers will soon be extinct as the era of technology becomes more advanced. I rarely read the newspaper to find out the news of the day. The Internet is my main source of information for the latest and greatest news stories because the information changes constantly throughout the day.

As I recently found out, I am not the only college student who doesn’t read the papers for news. When asked if they read newspapers, three Marymount Manhattan College students answered simultaneously, “No.” It was only Steph Johnson, also an MMC student, who replied, “Sometimes I do.” Megan Cohl and Johnson both said that they regularly watch the news on television, Cohl adding, “I watch the morning news and when I get home, the evening news.” It was MMC student Cameron Burke who mentioned that the way he keeps up with the news is by word of mouth. Johnson also added that she gets her news from the AOL headlines.

Even people who work in the news industry realize that it is coming to an end. Over the summer I worked in my local television news station, WPTZ News, Channel 5 in Plattsburgh, NY, two days a week during the evening news and the late night news. I was amazed to see that stories that had been announced hours earlier were being reused on the evening news shows. I actually got into several discussions with a 20-year veteran of the industry who was all too aware of the fact that news programs are losing viewers.

One very big factor can be attributed to this sort of demise. Newspapers and news programs are losing their audience because of a lack of instant gratification. College students are too busy with classes, books, studying, social lives, and jobs to spend an hour or two each morning thumbing through the New York Times looking for that particular topic, or piece of news, that might be of interest to them. Instead, they can just jump online and “Google” it in the news section.

The world is changing at an accelerated speed and the only thing we can do is to change and adapt with it. I wonder if all of this change is really a good thing, though? For example, one of the first modes of transportation was horse drawn carriages and that has all changed and we now use automobiles, which are destroying our planet every second of the day. Another example is cassette tapes and VHS tape that everyone used to own to listen to music and watch videos. The tapes were in very durable cases that were basically indestructible. We now have CDs and DVDs that are completely ruined if you get a microscopic scratch on them. However, now they are coming out with eco-friendly cars, the “going green” campaign, and iPods to store your movies and music safely. So, even though change may not always be good, it is certainly a comfort when things seem bad.

The Future Of Newspapers

Newspapers Are Struggling With Generational Changes
By Priya Joshi

Americans embraced the vast technological improvements that were shaping the future of our nation at the turn of the 20th Century. This industrial revolution sparked a century of growth and prosperity. But today, has technology begun to make people less in touch with their society rather than more informed?

The newspaper industry was the main source of information for millions of people for decades. These days, with the invention of television and Internet, it seems as though newspapers are becoming obsolete. Nineteen-year-old college student Elizabeth Monahan agrees. “It’s not that I am uninterested in current affairs, it’s just that it’s easier to watch the news rather than to read about it. I still stay well informed, I just do it differently than people who choose to buy the New York Times,” she said.

Monahan, having grown up with television and the Internet finds it natural that she rarely buys a newspaper. “I can either buy a paper, or hit a switch and have the news right in front of me. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing that newspapers are suffering due to television and the Internet. A new generation has been born and changes come around often. The world is constantly making progress and people need to deal with that,” she said.

Like Monahan, older generations also stick with what they know. “The news on television tends to be biased and often one sided”, says Linette Joshi, a 52-year-old mother of two. “I prefer the news paper because I feel as though I can rely on the stories to be factual. There have been so many controversies over news stations lying and presenting false facts to viewers. I don’t want to take that risk of being severely misinformed.”

Having two children of her own, Joshi disagrees with Monahan’s reasoning for not buying newspapers. Her view is a bit more cynical. "I feel as though the current generation of young adults have adapted a sense of apathy about global affairs. There’s a huge war going on and I think a lot of kids feel helpless. They’ve given up on being heard so reading or watching the news at all seems pointless,” says Joshi. “My kids would rather watch their favorite television show and laugh than sit down and watch what’s going on in Iraq. It’s a little disheartening, but I can’t blame them. They didn’t ask to grow up in a society of machines and warfare and violence. They want to feel young for as long as they can because they know the world is turning upside down.”

But what could the possible consequences be for a generation void of reading newspapers? “Many adults think that by not getting the news from newspapers my generation will become less literate,” says Monahan. “I disagree. Just because we aren’t reading the newspaper doesn’t mean that we aren’t still reading books or poetry or magazines.”

Would Monahan’s generation become less intelligent from not reading a newspaper every once in a while? I would say perhaps not. However, the issue of a generation becoming uninformed about the world they live in seems more plausible. Whether it is a case of convenience or apathy, the newspaper business is likely to greatly suffer if the current generation does not keep it alive.

The Future Of Newspapers

News Media: Moving Into The Technological World
By Kelly Lafarga

A recent New York Times article, “Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice,” said that young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 don’t follow the news closely. It also states that only 16 percent of these young adults read the newspaper every day. The question here is not whether young adults aren’t interested in the news, the question is, are the media changing with the times and offering the news in outlets that the young adults are accustomed to?

The article, quoting a study titled “Young People And News” by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, sampled 1,800 Americans. The results were that most young adults don’t follow the news closely. This survey doesn’t sound like it even has much accuracy. In order for it to be a non-biased survey they should have chosen a larger sample. Close to 2,000 people are nowhere near enough. This gives a bigger chance of variability. This can hardly be used to represent the entire parameter, or population.

In a recent interview, 22 year-old Carly Lang said that she “is very much interested in what’s happening in the world, but doesn’t necessarily have the time to read the newspaper every morning.” She said she “spends a lot of her time traveling and using her mobile Internet device.” Perhaps she would keep up with current events if they were easily transmitted to her phone.

We are not as much of a reading society as we once were. Technology is constantly improving and making some forms of media obsolete. Is the newspaper on the way to becoming the next VCR or cassette tape? In many areas, technology is improving and people are moving with it at rapid speed. Why are newspapers taking the slow route in this fast growing cyber world?

Katie Berenson, 23, said, she “isn’t actually interested in watching or reading about the news.” This brings up a new question. Is this decrease in news interest by young adults because of the media in which it’s given or because of how it is actually given? This may seem confusing, but even how stories are written or delivered on the news will affect how young adults take it in. If it is delivered poorly young people won’t respond. Things are becoming a lot quicker in technology. Young adults have very little patience because of it. Sitting through an entire story may seem rather boring for them.

We can also look at this in another way. Because things are growing at such rapid speeds young people must keep up with them. Everyone must have the newest gadgets and newest clothes. Now more then ever consumerism is at a high level. Young adults are so focused on how to look good and how to stay fit that they pay little attention to other things around them, such as the news. Maybe this is to blame for the lack of interest in young adults.

The truth is to some extent, young people aren’t as interested in the news as they maybe once were. There are a lot of reasons why this is occurring. Is technology moving at such a rapid speed that young adults are becoming less patient for things? Is consumerism distracting young people from what’s really important? The answers to these questions aren’t as important as the actual solution to them. What is the news media going to do to create more of an interest for young adults? These young people are our future. Whether or not they take interest in the news is very important for our survival. The Times article states that “the future of news is going to be in the electronic media.” Hopefully, we can see some improvement and change in the near future, for this is a serious problem that must have a quick solution.

The Future Of Newspapers

Young News: Yes Or No?
By Gina Mobilio

In a country of young men and women focusing on media, pop culture, and gossip as their main source of news entertainment, it is hard to imagine the youth of our nation advancing their worldly knowledge with the political, social, economic, and environmental news reports that are available to them.

A report released by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard titled, “Young People and the News,” focused on the news viewing and reading habits of 1,800 Americans between the ages of 18 to 30, and older adults.

This study found that only 16 percent of the young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 read at least one newspaper daily, while only nine percent of teenagers read newspapers. When compared with the amount of people over the age of the 30 reading the news daily, there was a vast difference. The study found that 35 percent of all people over the age of 30 are actively reading newspapers.

“Unfortunately, that study seems about right,” Marymount Manhattan College student Shannon O’Brien said. “I’m 22 years-old and I know that I am lacking in reading my newspaper. I never know what’s going on,” she confesses with a nervous giggle.
“My friends and I read Perez Hilton’s website. Does that count as news?”

Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip blog site generates 7 million hits a day, with an audience of mostly 18-30 year olds.

“I just can’t be bothered [with the newspaper.] If something terrible happened in the world, my mom would text message me about it. She reads the news. I just try to stick to lighter forms of reading. Life is too intense to read the news all the time,” O’ Brien said.

Barbara Gottesman, an 80 year-old retired real estate agent living in the Upper East Side, thought differently when asked about her newspaper consumption. “The news is what gets me through the day. I can’t walk well, so I can’t do a lot of things within this city or see a lot of advertising [around the city.] How am I going to know which show at the opera I want to see without reading the newspaper’s reviews,” she said.

As a faithful reader of the New York Times, Gottesman praised the Arts and Leisure Section of the Sunday editions, as well as the headlines. “You look in the paper, and poof, you know what’s going on in New York and the rest of the world. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that.”