Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Deterrents to learning

In chapter 7 Graber discusses how the presentation of news stories can severely inhibit the viewer's ability to learn about the topic at hand. As she notes "The presentation of stories in disconnected television snippets complicates the task of making sense out of news stories and integrating them with existing knowledge, This is especially true when stories are complex, as are most reports about controversial public policies. People who feel that they cannot understand what is happening are discouraged from spending time reading or listening" (177).

This reminded me of a report that I heard on NPR the other day that addresses how statistics relating to our economy and stock market are relayed to the public through news reports. Basically, the take home point is that the dialogue surrounding the stock market is too abstract for the general public.

Full transcript here:

Chris Arnold: If you'd turned on the financial news channel CNBC this week, you might have found yourself wishing that you had a translator. Most people can wrap their head around the Dow Industrials Average, but after that, things can get a lot more complicated pretty fast.

Unidentified woman: What would you advise to do right now, Dave?

Dave: I'm seeing a lot of volume picking up in the VSX, which is the Vick's short-term ETF. But I would also recommend playing some reversion to the mean.

Arnold: This is really confusing.

Dave: Maybe start taking some money out of the queues. You know, but why don't we rotate maybe into the KB, to the money center banks or the IYR, the wreaths. We're starting to see renewed confidence in the CNBS market...

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