Monday, October 23, 2006

What Are Our Real Problems, What Are Our Real Solutions?

If one listens to the education, transportation and legal lobbies, the answer to every human ill is to throw more money at them -- as we have been for the last 50 years, causing the current crisis -- which is that there are scarce resources available for solving very pressing problems because the education, transportation and legal professionals cannot live in the lavish lifestyles they think they are “entitled” to -- while many others have to go homeless, without adequate health care and legal protection because the self-chosen oligopolies have this prior claim on the prosperity of society.

Teachers don’t need to produce more failing students in order to justify more money for education. They need to be actually teaching those failing in society -- and not teaching people who fail to recognize the leader of Mozambique, as though that were some great failing and need of society. The problem of education and learning is this learning of that which isn’t relevant -- while the professional educators will insist that they are. When learning is clearly essential to the task, learning is never a problem. Convincing people that learning the irrelevant just for educators’ job security -- is easily seen through and questioned even by the most compliant students.

Likewise in transportation, there is no greater need for more mass transit, when the current available mass transit system is running way below capacity. Even the highways are running way below capacity -- even as they are notably bumper-to-bumper, with single occupants in each vehicle. The problem is not that we need more mass transit or more highways, but to achieve higher effective uses of what is already there. That has to be the first solution -- which is the lack of the proper understanding.

Otherwise, like more learning, it doesn’t produce a better society that a few elitists have more knowledge -- as it would be if valid, practical information was spread more equally among the population. The problems are not of resources but of distribution -- just as the Governor points out in countering the education lobbies’ demand that they need “More money,” when very little of it is getting to the classrooms -- and so the central bureaucracy has to be eliminated so that they do not absorb all those monies.

Learning, transportation, health, ethics are pretty straightforward -- except they become very lucrative when monies are freely available and regulated for the benefit of the self-interest, instead of the citizens, which is the purpose of decentralizing these powerful self-serving bureaucracies. They instead, will attempt to pass laws and constitutional amendments to ensure their lifelong status and advantages -- at the top of the social hierarchies.

With that lack of mobility and opportunity for all others, particularly those at the bottom, it is no wonder they recognize that the odds are hopeless and just drop out -- because the advantage is not given to those at the bottom but those at the top promising they will “give back,” AFTER they have gotten theirs. THAT is the status quo we are challenging.

4 Comments:

At October 23, 2006 10:27 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

If people are paying attention, and I hope a few are, one notes that a few Democrats are trying to co-opt the language of change as though it was THEIR idea -- which is just their ploy to get re-elected and they can then go back to protecting the status quo -- until the next election, when they get to fool the people one more time.

One of these days, the people just wise up and say, “No more fooling me.” When that happens, nobody can know for sure -- but it does happen in its own good time. Not only is it necessary to have the right leaders at such moments, but the right predisposition of the voting public. Many times it is voter outrage; but even better is when, society has changed -- and the old solutions obviously don’t make any sense, anymore. That is the evolution of societies and cultures -- and why we don’t go backwards but can only move forward.

So when one hears such statements as, “If I knew then what I know now, and would have acted differently…,” it is merely an escape from accountability. One can always and only choose the best course of action with what one knows presently -- and that’s why in choosing one’s leaders, one needs to choose those with the greatest understanding of the Big Picture -- and not those who are the most gullible to the special interest lobbies, who can convince them of whatever they want to be “true.”

That is the evolution beyond selecting leadership based on the “politically correct” position on issues. Can the leader (representative) rethink the issue completely -- and come up with solutions that eliminate the problem -- rather than continuing it indefinitely. This is a turning for all societies and communities at this time. We can continue the old problems -- getting worse while costing more, or rethink everything freshly -- so what remains is the true and useful, and what falls away, is that which is continued just because it’s always been done that way before.

That is the baggage of society -- just as the baggage in individual lives prevent one from escaping all their problems. They need to rethink life wholly different -- without holding on to the problems and dismissing all the solutions, because one insists that the problems are essential to one’s existence. They are the bane of one’s existence -- and recognizing that is the key to their liberation from that fate into another fulfillment of their destiny.

Elections are a snapshot of that progress -- rather than its only progress. That a Democrat like Ed Case, challenges the status quo within his own party -- is already a triumph, and not a defeat. Because it is the inspiration for a whole new generation of people who recognize the validity and legitimacy of doing things and living life in quite a different way -- beyond the limits and constraints of the past.

That he was willing to be “defeated” in this way, was the triumph beyond never expressing a different possibility. That would have been the real defeat -- the failure to dare. That is what changes the course of history -- and not the many who merely protect the status quo.

Those are obviously not leaders.

 
At October 24, 2006 9:51 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003286893

J-School Course: How to Evaluate Credibility of News

By Anna Crane

Published: October 23, 2006 3:30 PM ET

NEW YORK Since the Internet has created the opportunity for an infinite number of news outlets, the ability to distinguish news from gossip, and credibility from popularity, is an increasingly useful skill -- not only for journalists but for news consumers as well.

In response, the newly created Stony Brook University School of Journalism in New York is offering a course in news literacy that will attempt to teach its students how to distinguish fact from fiction.

The news literacy class is being offered to all students at the university, not just journalists, and will have four sections next semester with a total of 130 students. This fall, only one section was offered for 40 students. To project was funded through a $1.7 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“There is great confusion in the public’s mind as to what is journalism and what is fake journalism. What is entertainment and what is news,” Howard Schneider, dean of the journalism school and the first professor of the News Literacy course, told E&P today. “The sheer quantity of information that is descending on us each day is blurring those lines, and that is dangerous to the news consumer.”

Throughout the course, students analyze different media outlets, different types of stories, and different types of sources. Several classes are devoted entirely to Internet communciations. With the guidance of journalism professors and media experts, students learn to identify “quality journalism” in all of these areas.

“We basically came up with a dozen key standards and variables which you can use to judge the reliability and credibility of a source,” Schneider said. “The differences between evidence and inference; first-, second-, and third-hand reports; sources that assert versus sources that verify.”

Eric Newton, the director of journalism initiatives for the Knight Foundation, said that non-journalism students will be the ones to benefit from this class the most and that they can take staples of journalism practice and apply it to their understanding of news.

“It’s a bad idea for a journalist to base a story on one source,” he said, “and it’s also a bad idea for a consumer to base his or her understanding of a story on one source. As a news consumer, you must take some responsibility.”

For Newton, a critical news consumer must not only be aware of the credibility of media outlets, but also of the sources and facts within the stories themselves.

“There are times when a blogger may have substantial information, and times when a mainstream journalist might have a stereotype, or an opinion, or assumption, and not a factual piece of information,” Newton said. “We’d like to show students -- and ultimately consumers in general -- how they can test and come to understand whether what they’re looking at is backed up by facts, or not.”

News consumers are not the only students benefiting from the class, said Schneider. Journalism students need to understand the challenges that news consumers face in order to effectively communicate to them.

“Most journalists and journalism educators have been focused on the supply side of journalism,” Schneider said, “and I don’t think that’s the total answer. ... I think a more discerning and discriminating group of news consumers is going to demand a high quality journalism -- a journalism of verification and certification. They will support news brands that can deliver quality journalism, that’s my hope. But they can’t do that if they don’t understand the difference between quality and fake journalism.”

Anna Crane (acrane@editorandpublisher.com)

 
At October 24, 2006 9:52 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003286893

J-School Course: How to Evaluate Credibility of News

By Anna Crane

Published: October 23, 2006 3:30 PM ET

NEW YORK Since the Internet has created the opportunity for an infinite number of news outlets, the ability to distinguish news from gossip, and credibility from popularity, is an increasingly useful skill -- not only for journalists but for news consumers as well.

In response, the newly created Stony Brook University School of Journalism in New York is offering a course in news literacy that will attempt to teach its students how to distinguish fact from fiction.

The news literacy class is being offered to all students at the university, not just journalists, and will have four sections next semester with a total of 130 students. This fall, only one section was offered for 40 students. To project was funded through a $1.7 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“There is great confusion in the public’s mind as to what is journalism and what is fake journalism. What is entertainment and what is news,” Howard Schneider, dean of the journalism school and the first professor of the News Literacy course, told E&P today. “The sheer quantity of information that is descending on us each day is blurring those lines, and that is dangerous to the news consumer.”

Throughout the course, students analyze different media outlets, different types of stories, and different types of sources. Several classes are devoted entirely to Internet communciations. With the guidance of journalism professors and media experts, students learn to identify “quality journalism” in all of these areas.

“We basically came up with a dozen key standards and variables which you can use to judge the reliability and credibility of a source,” Schneider said. “The differences between evidence and inference; first-, second-, and third-hand reports; sources that assert versus sources that verify.”

Eric Newton, the director of journalism initiatives for the Knight Foundation, said that non-journalism students will be the ones to benefit from this class the most and that they can take staples of journalism practice and apply it to their understanding of news.

“It’s a bad idea for a journalist to base a story on one source,” he said, “and it’s also a bad idea for a consumer to base his or her understanding of a story on one source. As a news consumer, you must take some responsibility.”

For Newton, a critical news consumer must not only be aware of the credibility of media outlets, but also of the sources and facts within the stories themselves.

“There are times when a blogger may have substantial information, and times when a mainstream journalist might have a stereotype, or an opinion, or assumption, and not a factual piece of information,” Newton said. “We’d like to show students -- and ultimately consumers in general -- how they can test and come to understand whether what they’re looking at is backed up by facts, or not.”

News consumers are not the only students benefiting from the class, said Schneider. Journalism students need to understand the challenges that news consumers face in order to effectively communicate to them.

“Most journalists and journalism educators have been focused on the supply side of journalism,” Schneider said, “and I don’t think that’s the total answer. ... I think a more discerning and discriminating group of news consumers is going to demand a high quality journalism -- a journalism of verification and certification. They will support news brands that can deliver quality journalism, that’s my hope. But they can’t do that if they don’t understand the difference between quality and fake journalism.”

Anna Crane (acrane@editorandpublisher.com)

 
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