Writing Exercise: Print Media

Please forgive my lack of creative writing posts in the past week or two. I’ve had a blast working on some of these writing exercises, and they’ve really opened my eyes to some different research nuances for which I hadn’t previously prepared. After doing some of these exercises, I don’t have much energy to write something else for the blog. Given my current situation with moving, job searching, preparing a wedding, and so forth, my time to write has become less and less. To alleviate that, I’m simply sharing some of those exercises here. Just give me some time and I’ll have some decently varied posts coming back to my few readers. Thanks for understanding!

On the topic of education, I was asked to research and answer a few questions. Here are my answers:

How has the print media industry historically treated your selected topic (education)? How does the print media industry treat that topic today?

My main focus on the subject of public education brought several responses from the New York Times. Even though the print media covers a plethora of mediums, the New York Times has traditionally done nothing more on this topic than report on statistics and descriptions of what is happening in schools across the country. Rather than having experts analyzing the public education system, it seems that many articles only describe the situation. This led me to checking out other sources of print media such as TIME, Reader’s Digest, and the Wall Street Journal. Most of these required a subscription to continue reading the articles I was able to find, but the titles gave away enough information. However, today, articles throughout these publications are much more descriptive and thought provoking. Most of the printed articles about public education are filled with hatred, criticism, and anger. A large chunk of recent print media is filled with discontent about the public education system and filled with each author’s idea for reformation and repair.

How has the print media industry helped drive improvements and public awareness of your selected topic? Has the media perpetuated any drawbacks, controversies, or scandals surrounding this topic?

As I stated in the previous question, most recent publications are solely used as a form of discontent for the current public education system. Most of the print media spends its time chastising public education while providing its own resolutions to the problems it describes. Ironically, this post speaks about the hatred in print media, and yet then goes on to explain the problem and providing his own answer to the problem. Given the nature of the recent publications, it is also clear that the media does everything it can to perpetuate the drawbacks and controversies about our public education system. While I was looking through some of the free articles in the New York Times, I noticed that the headlines would state things like, “Schools Purposefully Fail Students for Future Income Possibilities.” Much like the tabloids, certain aspects of print media are willing to spark controversy knowing it can garner more readers.

What role has the print media industry played throughout the history of this topic? Do you think the current role of the print media is the same as it was in the 1800s and 1900s? Why or why not?

Print media helped play a role in education by getting word out to those unaware of problems in the system. However, unlike today, it was more of a description of the problems rather than offering a solution to the problem. This was and is not necessarily a bad thing because it allowed those unaware of the situation to become part of the knowledgeable crowd. While I looked through some of the past articles of the New York Times, dating back to 1860, although I wasn’t allowed to read the actual article without a subscription, I noticed most of the titles referring to a relatively straight forward title describing how education either worked or failed. No title implied it offered any kind of colorful commentary on the subject, only the absolute facts of what was happening. If we assume the articles of the New York Times via their website also counts as print media, then no, the actual information contained therein is in no way the same as it was during the 1800s and 1900s. Nowadays, everybody has an opinion, whether it be an educated one or not is up for debate. My late grandfather was well known for reading the local paper and expressing his disgust at the words of a writer commenting on a myriad of subjects. The print media is no longer a medium for reading simple descriptions. It is now a form of discovering and analyzing the opinions, research, answers, and comments of other people on a certain subject rather than making interpretations of straight forward information.

Part Two of this exercise will be posted tomorrow!

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