As part of an assignment for another class, I passed out 100 surveys toFresnoStatestudents. The goal of the survey was to find out how much time students spent reading the newspaper and/or watching the news on television, compared to how much time they spent watching celebrity based television shows and/or reading magazines that are focused on celebrities. I also wanted to find out how knowledgeable the students considered themselves to be when it came to both celebrity and traditional news.
A majority of survey takers fell into the 18-27 age group, which is not surprising considering the face that this survey was handed out atFresnoState. Also not surprising is that over 50 percent of participants admitted to either never reading the newspaper, or spending less than one hour a week reading it. Still unsurprisingly, 46 percent of students claimed to either never watch the news on television, or spend less than an hour a week doing so. However, 15 percent did say that they spend over four hours a week watching the news.
With regards to reading celebrity magazines, over 25 percent of participants noted that they never read magazines, however, over 45 percent of survey takers admitted that they spend two or more hours a week reading celebrity news or magazines that focused on celebrities. Slightly over 40 percent noted that they spend two or more hours a week watching news programs that focus on celebrity news, but 30 percent claimed to never watch shows like TMZ, or Entertainment Tonight.
None of the results noted above should be considered surprising to most people, but what should be considered surprising is that a large majority of survey takers still considered themselves to be either knowledgeable or very knowledgeable when it came to what they knew about traditional news and what is happening around the world.
Now, of course it’s hard to narrow down exactly what constitutes someone as “knowledgeable” when it comes to news. My thoughts are going to be different than yours, or anyone else’s. However, I’m just not very sure how these students could possibly consider themselves to have any knowledge at all when they spend such little time watching the news.
While taking the survey, one student mentioned to me that she considers herself knowledgeable, despite the fact that she never spends anytime watching or reading the news, because she hears other people taking about the news, and that’s where she gets a majority of her news from. Yes, you read that right. She considers herself knowledgeable because she eavesdrops on other peoples conversations about news.
Now, while I don’t believe that the majority of students share her feelings, I do find it to be a scary thought that people like her exist. I was not able to discuss the thoughts of other survey takers with other students, so it would be interesting to hear their opinion on what makes a person knowledgeable or not knowledgeable when it comes to traditional news.
The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.
-John F. Kennedy