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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 28 October 2021

What media could you not do without?

A university experiment put students on a 48-hour “fast” from all types of media.

Image: Stuart Miles via Shutterstock

THERE WAS AN interesting challenge for students at University of Oregon recently. A group of them were asked to go on a 48-hour “media fast”.

The Poynter journalism site reports that this included “no books, magazines, movies, newspapers, radio or Internet”. The study of students’ experiences on the no-media fast was carried out by the university’s journalism and communication department. While forcing – shock, horror – more human interaction among the students who were temporarily starved of other means of communication, it also made at least one feel “immensely powerless”.

Teachers at the Stony Brook University in Long Island apparently use this experiment annually with new students in their News Literacy course. According to Dean Miller, director of the course, the reason behind the temporary blackout is to make students think about where they get their news, how they get it and “to start students on the lifetime search for reliable information”.

Professor Roger Bohn of University of California, San Diego, said in 2009 that the average adult is exposed to more than 100,000 words a day, a phenomenon being branded “information bombardment”. This is how we consume those words in a day:

The majority is through TV (44.85 per cent), followed by computer/internet (26.97 per cent) and print (8.6 per cent).

Which medium could you NOT do without?

Poll Results:

Internet (542)
Print (514)
Radio (175)
Phone (163)
Television (79)

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