I gave a talk this week at the Economics Institute here in Boulder, which is attached to the University of Colorado.
The institute “prepares” economics and business students from abroad for graduate studies here with crash courses in American culture. It was very interesting to speak to them about American media in the age of the Internet, and the changes that the Net is bringing about.
Even more interesting was hearing the thoughtful, intelligent questions and concerns from people from a dozen-plus different countries — the same sort of people who read True every week. Even in the age of instant electronic communications, sometimes getting face to face with people and talking is the best thing to do.
Unclear On One Big Concept
One thing that really boggled some of the students: that in large part due to the “free speech, free press” clause in our Bill of Rights, anyone can be a journalist — no license is needed. (When I said that, several eyes opened really wide!)
The result is a thriving press — and also it’s important that consumers be informed consumers of the media. Many “tabloid” supermarket “newspapers” are hardly to be trusted: some make up stories for entertainment purposes, not to be informative.
I could tell from their reactions that the very idea was mind-boggling, but when you get down to it, state-licensed newspapers are less trustworthy!
Thanks to reader Greg who invited me to speak at the Institute. It was fun, and eye-opening for me, too, to see how different cultures don’t quite understand The American Way.
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