Everything I know I learned from TV

Another story about the death of news — I was starting to miss these! — but unlike the usual Internet-kills-newspapers stuff, this New York Times article focuses on the fact that 18-to-30’s in general aren’t engaging with the news in any meaningful way, Web-based or otherwise. Which, to me, indicates yet another way in which we aren’t going to be able to relate to — or, let’s be honest, impress — many of the people around and above us in the workplace.

Citing a report released last week by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the article points out that, “despite the popular belief that young people are flocking to the Internet, the survey found that teenagers and young adults were twice as likely to get daily news from television than from the Web.”

So not only are we not reading newspapers — only 16% of 18-to-30’s said they read a paper everyday — we’re not actually reading much at all. Instead, we’re relying on the likes of Katie Couric and Jon Stewart — my love for him aside — for our current events updates. And even then, with just a few soundbites and voiceovers to process, our interaction with these stories is still essentially superficial. That might have been all right when everyone assumed we were going to the Web for our hard-hitting stuff, but if Jon’s all we’ve got, well, no wonder the world’s in the state it’s in.

Still, I can’t say that I’m surprised; even I found myself getting dressed to the news on the road last week, rather than trek out in search of a paper or  wireless connection. (If I’m being really honest, I should also confess that by “news,” I mean Good Morning America, the local weather, and whatever happened to be on CNN after those were over.) And I’m a writer.

What does that mean for us, then? In the post-Peter Jennings era, I can hardly stand to sit through an evening news broadcast. And while one of my favorite things to do on Sunday is go back to all the great, long, analysis pieces I haven’t had time to read over the week, I’m not so sure that’s the standard for all those kids growing up with televisions — and XBoxes, and laptops, and whole home entertainment systems — in their own rooms. How are we ever going to succeed in work and life if our world’s getting so small that, at least as far as we seem to be concerned, we’re the only ones in it?

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