These lyrics from one of Green Day’s more famous songs suggest that the role that the media plays in the lives of Americans may be something of a negative one. With Novocollegians having limited access to cable, television, newspapers and other forms of communication, many students may find themselves not being 100 percent up to date on the latest happenings in news updates.
“Wow, I really do have no idea what’s going on in the world,” first-year Lauren Rogers said. “It’s not like I’m proud of it, but I didn’t know about the earthquake in Washington until two days after it happened. Before [I came to New College] I used to subscribe to an internet news service, but I stopped because it got really annoying. I should really read the newspaper lying around in Hamilton Center.”
Any sort of periodical, news channel or radio station that delivers any sort of information is a business, which may harbor motives beyond making money. Publications such as the Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch, and Newsweek, who recently published a cover story of Michelle Bachmann referring to her as “The Queen of Rage,” can push for political reform rather than deliver an unbiased account of a newsworthy event.
“I look at the BBC and other apps on my phone because I feel American news stations are too politically partisan,” first-year Jordan Barnaby said. “I think in order to make news the U.S has to blow something out of proportion. BBC just tells you what happened and there’s stuff on there that most people would never see on American television. The media is so overwhelmed with political stuff that they’ve lost sight of what’s really newsworthy. I don’t even listen to NPR anymore.”
Other students feel that NPR is a reliable news source as an alternative to television.
“I do feel a little irresponsible not being up to date on what’s going on around me,” first-year Heather Barnes said. “People here at New College really pride themselves on being politically active, but it’s a little harder here than in the real world. I’m not much of a TV person, though. I listen to NPR.”
Dawn Nygren, a third-year student at NCF who is part of the National Student Exchange (NSE), says that she manages to keep up to date with all the latest happenings in the world by scouring internet articles pertaining to both monumental world events and celebrity gossip.
“This is the 21stcentury,” Nygren said.“It’s not like TV is the only thing around that can tell you what’s going on outside of your dorm room. Whenever I go up to somebody and I say something like, ‘Hey, did you know there’s another hurricane out in the Atlantic?’ and they go, ‘Oh, no, I don’t have cable,’ I frown upon them. You have a computer. You can get a newspaper at the Shell station. You have all the tools you need to figure out what’s going on.”