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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Rule one of column writing is to not alienate the audience by preaching. Chrony Opinion Editor Lindsey Sine and her predecessor, Matt Piper, have unceasingly stressed this to the paper’s clan of pundits during their summer-long, two-a-day, how-to-impose-your opinion-on-the-world accelerated sessions. (Rule two: Never divulge the inner workings of The Daily Utah Chronicle.)

While I might not have picked up any of the finer points in Chrony camp (rule three: never use “I” when pontificating), I feel I’m getting the hang of this “spew your view” thing.

So without any further flatulence of text, (rule one, for real: get to your f***** point), hear this, Chrony readers: Thank you.

Thank you for making it all the way to the third paragraph and congrats on picking up the paper (or getting past the online summary). By doing so, you demonstrate your superior intelligence — or at the very least, knowledge. And, if you pick up The Daily Utah Chronicle every day, even further kudos, for you are among the 16 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 30 in this country that reads a paper every day.

This is according to a recent report titled, “Young People and News” by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Besides not reading the newspaper every day, the report suggests that the majority of “young adults don’t have an ingrained news habit,” said the report’s director, Thomas Patterson, to The New York Times.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here — Chrony readers obviously know the importance of news — but please, tell your friends, your little brothers, sisters, cousins, to PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEWS. They don’t have to scour The Times every morning for an hour (though the world would be a better place if everyone did), but tune in somehow, someway.

Even the Internet — the vast and great medium — draws paltry news exposure numbers. The Harvard study shows only 22 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 30) go to the Internet every day for news.

What happened to the notion that cyberspace was going to liberate the people, enlighten the masses and bear light to news stories that got bumped from the pages and were too complex for the air waves? I guess YouTube and MySpace are a lot more fun than (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. Go there — it’s awesome). Who woulda thunk?

I know, the media are jerks, local television news sucks and the field has been infiltrated by PR practitioners and interest groups. But please, don’t give up on the news. If you do, The Man has won. (If you’re having trouble picturing The Man, think Dick Cheney meets Karl Rove.) The Man will accomplish the ultimate power grab, controlling the masses and, hence, their minds.

A scenario from “V for Vendetta” or “1984” is not some farfetched fabrication of a paranoid Hollywood or an inflated academia. The White House has done its best to control the press and to conduct the nation’s business covertly. Corporate interests now wield much greater influence in Congress than ever before, and media ownership regulations have been relaxed, allowing conglomerates to further grow in power.

The powers-that-be would love nothing more than a sedated public that is eager to consume. It would rather you watch six-hour blocks of “Pimp My Ride” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and toil along happily as if it were a “Leave it to Beaver” episode than worry yourself about the misgivings of the world. The Man then has a much greater chance of selling you that 6,000-pound H2 without you having any rumination about the environmental and economic consequences of such a purchase.

I’m not asking you to spend half of your day sifting through reports from the ACLU and Amnesty International, but please make it a practice to devote a quarter of an hour to find out what’s going on in the community, the country and (if you still have time) the world.

With the current state of national politics, the results from the Harvard report are not surprising. As the bumper sticker says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” (That, or you’re like Cheney/Rove, The Man — flat-out evil.)

I know, I don’t have to tell Chrony readers to make time for a little news consumption, but if there could just be more of you out there, we could avert some of those little nuisances, such as Iraq (the press is just so obsessed with it), and be able to relax and enjoy some “Baseball Tonight,” “NFL Live” and “SportsCenter.”

[email protected]

Phil Cannon

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