Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's New with the News?

The Brookings Institution recently released a study that reports only 1.4 percent of national news coverage from television, newspapers, news web sites, and radio dealt with education issues.

And if you think about it, education doesn't get much coverage from local and state news outlets either.

Think about that the next time you watch any local TV news broadcast.  Usually any local TV news about schools is related to a scandal, an outbreak of a disease like H1N1, closures due to snow, or a successful sports team.

Rarely do you hear anything good about education on a regular basis much less any reports on important issues such as the effects of "No Child Left Behind" or the Michigan high school graduation requirements.

A few weeks ago when Novi High School was reported to have the first H1N1 case in the Metro Detroit area for this school year, TV news trucks were lined up at 6:00 AM waiting and beaming live reports for the morning broadcasts.  However, you never saw the news crews in front of the school at 6:00 AM the morning after the Novi F.I.R.S.T. Robotics team won a national championship.  Plus you never see any in-depth reporting on what state budget cuts are doing to our schools or other urgent education issues that will have long lasting consequences.

Just think how much time on the local news is dedicated to weather each day.  Doesn't that make you wonder why TV news organizations can't have a full time dedicated education reporter to give updates on issues that effect the lives of our school children on a daily basis?

It's not just the local TV news either.  Check out any local newspaper web site and you'll be hard pressed to find a section of the news dedicated to education.  You'll find sports sections, business sections, entertainment sections, obituaries, etc., but you really have to search to find a subsection for schools or education.

I know as a teacher I'm biased toward education issues, but really, isn't the disproportionate coverage of other subjects in the news when compared to education a bit of a disgrace?

One final thought... I "Googled" a few phrases to see what kind of "hits" I'd get and the results are astonishing.

10,400,000 hits for "Jon and Kate plus 8"
9,390,000 hits for "Tiger Woods scandal"
7,440,000 hits for "American Idol"

5,040,000 hits for "Pimp my Ride"
4,970,000 hits for "South Park"
2,900,000 for "Dancing with the Stars"

677,000 hits for "no child left behind"
362,000 hits for "race to the top"
113,000 hits for "influential teachers"
70,500 for "blue ribbon schools"

Oh... and by the way... the report on the Novi H1N1 case was inaccurate.  The student's test results ended up being negative.