Why can’t most media types ask thought-provoking questions?
I imagine that there must be some sort of training in reporter/host school that teaches its students to ask proper questions that engage both the viewer and participant. So why do I hear all types of reporters asking the most mundane questions, spoon-feeding their subject?
Where are the questions that instill a sense of wonder; an opportunity to gain something new from the interaction? Why is it that almost every time I hear a reporter or host ask someone a question I feel the questions are elementary and useless. I gain nothing. Seriously, is it any wonder that there is a problem today with students’ capacity to think?
Invariably the questions are a version of these options:
These questions spoon-feed the subject. Asking questions that provide the answers wastes my time and insults my intelligence. We’ve gotten used to canned questions and answers, compromising everyone’s ability to think critically. If I was a lawyer, I’d say that these questions ‘lead the witness’. So, let’s not pretend that we’re gaining new insight when we listen to these interviews.
What if different questions were asked? What if people were actually asked to think? See how these similar but altered questions might have a different response:
Which interview would engage you? Which answers would grip you right away? Which ones would make the subject and the viewer think just a little bit more? Which ones would tell a better story?
I don’t get it.
If Halloween is really Happy what’s with all the images of scary pumpkins, witches, goblins, ghosts, and ghouls?
This does not make for a Happy Holiday for me. Maybe because Halloween comes on the heels of starting the new school year in September, but that’s only part of it. The other part is that Halloween’s celebration of death-like imagery (skeletons, graveyards, blood-thirsty things, devils and more) just doesn’t appeal to my Jewish sensibility of revering life.
After years of reaping the candy rewards as a child, without so much as a second thought about any spooky connections that made that experience enjoyable, Halloween and I became only polite acquaintances once I became a parent.
It was a holiday I tolerated, because my kids were part of American culture. I gave out candy at my door, but hated the consistent door-bell ringing that peppered the few hours we had to ourselves after a day at work.
But every time I saw skeletons hanging from trees, ghosts posted by doorways, and front lawns turned into graveyards, I decided to back off from the holiday’s ghoulish behavior. Once my kids were old enough to get their candy fix in the proper way, by buying it—not by opening a bag at someone’s door, I’ve separated from it entirely.
Not even my fond memories of my mother’s creative home-made costumes can save my opinion of the Hallowed holiday now. Mind you, I am not judging your participation. I’m Happy if you’re Happy.…even if my version of Happy doesn’t involve gory costumed characters or spooky-looking carved pumpkins.
I wanted to write something about the end of summer, and how my beach memories of scouring for seashells and building sand castles seem so simple, while the board-hyphenated activities I saw this year took such skill: boogie-boarding, paddle-boarding, skim-boarding, and of course surf-boarding (which sounds so old school right about now).
But instead, I woke up today to the realization of 9/11 and remember how in an instant, I went into the depths of fear and vulnerability. I feel like pushing those feelings away, because it’s so scary and uncomfortable to be in that space. How is it that I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, what I was thinking? How can fleeting minutes engrave themselves permanently in my mind?
I need to hold on to my discomfort, because it makes me realize my place.
Everything around us entices us into thinking that we’re in total control of our lives, even though there are now more tools than ever that actually help us do this. And on a daily basis, we make thousands of minute, free will choices that confirms this feeling.
But we know we’re really not. Not in the big sense. Not when we start thinking about life and death.
This time of year for me tends to trigger this line of thinking, but today, on 9/11 I want to honor all the feelings I tend to push away. Instead, I want to sit in the stew of the jumbled emotions I feel….being vulnerable, not knowing all the answers, the fear of loss, and in the end, just being human. Smaller than we think.
by Ruth Schapira
Some people read obituaries. Me, I like to read job announcements; always have.
Years ago, reading the (generation alert) “Help Wanted” classified ad section in newspapers was an enjoyable pastime for me. The larger the paper the better, and perusing those tiny boxes in The Sunday New York Times gave me some sort of satisfaction. There were just so many ads crammed on the page. I would feel content and optimistic about the many opportunities displayed within those pages. So many people could be changing their lives.
There were ads upon ads worth of reading, positions ranging from Accounting Clerks to Elevator Operators. And no wonder. Classified sections usually have 40% more print packed into the page than other pages do. How do I know this? I googled it, and found it on a specs page for the New York Times. The New York Times offers employers, recruiters, human resource professionals, headhunters and executive search firms (really, aren’t there just so many people doing the hiring?) 10 columns of newsprint while most pages contain 6 columns.
So, now I read job announcements online, and the experience is confining. Scrolling can’t be compared to the expansive world of occupational choice arrayed before you, within four fully opened newspaper pages, containing 20 columns of text. But I still gain something from the online experience. I keep current with keywords, jargon and buzzwords (not all the same thing?), I know what opportunities there are for fields that interest me, and I keep up to date with industry changes.
Some of the job postings make me laugh. Some make me cringe. One job description for a Testing Administrator required “cleaning out trash containers and turning off all lights before exiting the building in the evening”.
And then today, there was this, which I had to share with you. Ready? This is an excerpt of what I read, for real:
Actively seeking a Project Manager or Sr Project Manager with experience in a Medical Communications/ Publication Planning environment. As Project Manager you will be responsible for managing publication planning projects in a medical communications/publication planning environment.
Huh? So, my question is, what will you be doing if you get this job?