Monthly Archives: April 2012

Day of Silence

Day of Silence was a project created by Cultural Diversity and GAS to raise awareness about bulling in schools.   Over 30 students and some teachers participated in Day of Silence this year for all different reasons.  Mrs. Baker said she took  “part in the Day of Silence to  bring attention to all those who feel silenced in our society with hopes that they will soon have a voice.”  Everyone wanted to help support the cause by becoming silent for one day.

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Kelly’s Korner: Advertising Claims

by Kelly Du

Everywhere we go, we are inundated with advertising. They appear in commercials, magazines and newspapers, along the sides of websites, billboards, etc. Any open space or place is good enough for advertisers. The most direct and easily noticeable thing used in advertising is the claims. Some are misleading lies while others are honest statements. But most fit into the category of “neither bold lies nor helpful consumer information.” By using carefully chosen words, advertisements balance between truth and falsehood. Here are just a few of the many claims that are commonly used.


Weasels are words that “appear substantial upon first look but disintegrate into hollow meaninglessness on analysis.” The words don’t support the entire claim.

 “Helps control dandruff symptoms with regular use.”

The weasels are “helps control” because it doesn’t say that it will stop the dandruff.

“Leaves dishes virtually spotless.”

“Virtually” isn’t the same as making dishes just spotless.


These claim that the product is better or has more of something, but doesn’t finish the comparison.

“Coffee-mate gives coffee more body, more flavor.”

“Scott makes it better for you.”

This first claim says “more,” but doesn’t compare it to anything. As for the second one, it doesn’t say how the product makes it “better.”


It sounds true, but it gives no advantage to the product.

 “Geritol has more than twice the iron of ordinary supplements.”

Is twice as much iron good for the body?

“Campbell’s gives you tasty pieces of chicken and not one but two chicken stocks.”

Does having an extra chicken stock improve the taste?

A lot of the claims used in ads try to persuade you into believing their products are superior and better than the rest, but upon further analysis, many of them are very weak at proving this point. Having “more” doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing, and weasels are commonly used everywhere. Don’t trust all the claims you read because even though they may appear positive, they may prove to be just false and empty.

Schrank, Jeffrey. “The Language of Advertising Claims.” HANDOUT: The Language Of Advertising Claims. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <;.


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Kelly’s Korner: Statistics Follow Up

by Kelly Du

Statistics that we see and hear about in the news are influenced by how an experiment or survey is conducted. In one example, people’s egos distorted the results of a poll about television viewing. Two groups were given scales to choose how much television they watched a day. The first group had a scale that started at less than thirty minutes and ended at more than two and a half hours. The second group had a scale that ranged from a minimum of less than two and a half hours, and a maximum of more than four and a half hours a day. As for the results, only 16.2% of people in the first group admitted to watching the highest choice, two and a half hours. In the second group, more than double that number admitted to watching at least two and a half hours of television. On a poll such as this one, human emotions got in the way of finding honest results. People tend to not want to be on the high end of a scale. When finding statistics about certain things, be prudent about how researchers set up their experiment or observations to get the numbers that they did.

Crossen, Cynthia. “The Study Game.” Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.



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Have a Great April Break Everyone

The BhsBuzz will be on break for the next week from April 14th to April 22nd and no articles will be posted.  Thank you! HAVE A GREAT BREAK EVERYONE!

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Pep Rally Postponed

The Pep Rally originally scheduled for Friday April 13th has been postponed to the Friday after break, on April 27th.  The cancellation is due to many reasons, but it is probably for the better, because no body wants to have a Pep Rally on Friday the 13th!  Who knows what could happen?

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Kelly’s Korner: Statistics in the Media

 by Kelly Du

It’s so easy to believe in the credibility of numbers. They provide something concrete and real to base our conclusions off of. But living in this media obsessed world, it’s easy to see now that these statistics that we read and hear about in the news mean something much more. There are hidden motives behind every statistic.

The sake of doing studies and surveys is to make a business decision or attract media interest. If a study ends up not being what a company was hoping for, they’ll quickly discard the information, or manipulate the results into what they want the public to believe. Companies privately buy and sell information to advance their causes. In doing so, independent research has dwindled in this country as the commercialization of research progresses. In return, ethics are compromised in this sort of practice. Where will the boundary between basic scientific research and business run research end?

Studies are usually made to seem much more dramatic and definitive than they really are. Companies tend to over report positive results, and under report negative ones, which in turn changes the public’s perception on things. Also, how a research is conducted greatly influences the type of responses that are received. It’s difficult to stay neutral when human emotion, wording of questions, their order, intonations, and pacing are all factors into the responses. Sometimes, researchers will use this to their advantage to get the response they want.

The problem today is that so many of us rely on statistics. Instead of using common sense and intelligence, we can’t help but believe what every number has to say. Inaccurate and corrupt information is present all around us, and yet we can’t tell the difference between what’s real or not. Although, this is not to say that all research done today is fraudulent. There are still many professionals “who aspire to quality, objectivity, and accuracy.” We as consumers just have to be wary of the statistics that are portrayed in the media.

Crossen, Cynthia. “The Study Game.” Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.


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Kelly’s Korner: Detecting Bias Follow Up

by Kelly Du

With all the recent media coverage surrounding the Trayvon Martin killing, much of the media quickly reported on the story without any restraint. The coverage soon escalated without much consideration of the facts. The attention primarily centered on the supposed racism against Trayvon Martin by the killer, George Zimmerman. There was extreme media bias towards the idea that George Zimmerman was a murderer because of racism. Much of the news broadcasts jumped to conclusions in order to push this certain idea that racism was the cause for the killing.

Controversy was sparked when NBC’s Today show ran an edited audio version of George Zimmerman’s phone call to the police. It appears as if Zimmerman says, “’This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.” In context though, the phone call went like this:

Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

911 officer: “OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?”

Zimmerman: “He looks black.”

Zimmerman only mentioned that Martin was black when he was prompted to.  NBC used bias through selection and omission. The media created this public frenzy to push its own agenda, but if you really looked at all the facts, maybe racism wasn’t such a prominent component to this story.

“NBC Launches Internal Probe over Edited 911 Call in Trayvon Martin Shooting.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Apr. 2012. <;.

“The Trayvon Martin Controversy: Has the Media Gone Overboard?” The Week. The Week Publications, 05 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Apr. 2012. <;.


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Hinrichs Travels to Saudi Arabia

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by Nina Mariotti and Alexandra Augustak

Photo Credit: Joel Hinrichs

To add to his impressive list of visited countries, Joel Hinrichs recently sojourned to the exotic Saudi Arabia. In an attempt to dispel any stereotypes or misunderstanding that American students might have about Saudi Arabia a popular oil company invited 20 US teachers to experience the country first hand. Hinrichs, an adventurous history teacher at BHS, jumped on the opportunity to visit a country that not many Americans get the chance to travel to. Saudi Arabia has been somewhat closed off to American tourists, so it was a huge learning experience for Hinrichs. “I was prepared for the culture difference, but it still came as a shock…I was surprised by how diverse Saudi Arabia actually is.”

                Hinrichs and the other teachers visited schools of all ages ranging from primary to university level. The schools were co-ed, although the boys and girls were separated by different floors.  Of the subjects studied there, mathematics and engineering were most prominent. ANd the students there were very interested in America and seemed to want to learn more about our culture.
                Hinrichs hopes to incorporate his travel to Saudi Arabia, as well as many other countries, into his classroom. Because of his travels he is now able to show personal pictures, such as the inside of a Mosque, him riding a camel, and him wearing the traditional outfit. In his opinion, personal stories and photos really brings the lesson to life, and makes the country less distant. Hinrichs recommends exploring the world to everyone. “It’s a really good experience to see what life is like in other countries,” he says. “It really opens your mind.” It is important to realize that the world is bigger than Branford High School.

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Froyo on the Home Front!!!

by Alexandra Augustak

Listen up Froyo fans! No need to drive all the way to New Haven to satisfy your yogurt loving sweet tooth anymore- Froyo is coming to Branford! As of now, not a lot of information could be divulged, but you can expect a Branford location by the end of summer this year. Stay in touch with the BHS Buzz for more updates on all things Froyo!

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Kelly’s Korner: Detecting Bias

Many journalists are expected to seek the truth and report it fairly. But no matter how hard a journalist or reporter tries to stay objective during stories, this is easier said than done. Bias is found everywhere in articles whether it’s intentional or not. It’s difficult to present the news fairly and impartially without including any sort of personal bias or stereotype. A news story is influenced by the “attitudes and background of its interviewers, writers, photographers, and editors.” If you’re reading a news article in a magazine or newspaper, or if you’re just watching the news on television, be aware of the different kinds of bias out there.

News broadcasts and writers can show bias through selection and omission. What ends up being presented to the public can be taken out of context to be presented a certain way. Some details can be ignored while others are added. An editor can decide what to include depending on what he/she wants to be conveyed to the public.

If you watch the news at the beginning of its broadcast, or if you look at the front covers of magazines and newspapers on newsstands, what’s the main story? Typically, those that are shown first are the most important ones to see. For example, the following day after a presidential election, you can expect to see the picture of the new winner on every cover and headline. No editor would want to put an insignificant story on the front page. The most important stories are shown first and then the less important ones are put in the back. The placement of a story has everything to do with influencing viewers about its importance.

The words used in headlines also convey bias. How a story is presented through its headline says a lot about the writer’s point of view. It can convey different emotions—excitement, anger, approval, condemnation, etc. Loaded language can also be used through headlines or within articles. Depending on the author’s perspective, he/she can use words that can describe the same group of people. Positive or negative connotations influence readers as well as the tone and word choice. A writer covering a demonstration can call people there “fanatical demonstrators” while someone else can interpret it as “courageous demonstrators.” Another example would be calling someone a workaholic instead of hard worker.

There are plenty of other forms of bias that are out there, but these are just a few of them. Personal interpretations about what a journalist sees or hears can influence how news is presented. Altogether, the words, tone, placement, and selections and omissions that a reporter chooses to use are all journalistic techniques that show bias. It’s not always deliberate, but it’s important to be aware to detect the kinds of bias in the news.


“Detecting Bias in the News | Handout.” Media Awareness Network. The Learning Seed Co. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. <;.



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