Category Archives: Lifestyles

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. <http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/02/nbc-launches-internal-probe-over-edited-11-call-in-trayvon-martin-shooting/&gt;.

“The Trayvon Martin Controversy: Has the Media Gone Overboard?” The Week. The Week Publications, 05 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Apr. 2012. <http://theweek.com/article/index/226469/the-trayvon-martin-controversy-has-the-media-gone-overboard&gt;.

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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.

VHS  

“Detecting Bias in the News | Handout.” Media Awareness Network. The Learning Seed Co. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. <http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/crime/detecting_bias_news.cfm&gt;.

 

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Food Invasion!

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Today our Cafeteria was invaded by the chefs of G-Zen with trays of delicious vegan food!  G-zen is a new restaurant in town on the green, they opened up this past winter, and so far  business is booming!  They are a restaurant that in addition to only serving vegan foods, uses only organic and locally grown ingredients.  If you want to learn more about G-Zen, check out their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/GZenRestaurant.  And hopefully they will be back soon to bring us more treats!

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Branford Goes Green

by Vinny Roca

You may have noticed that there have been some changes to the lights in the commons and on senior balcony. Since the construction of the commons incandescent bulbs have been wasting energy, inefficiently lighting the common, but recently these light have been replaced with energy efficient LED lights.

So why the sudden change? Mr. Panagoulias responded by saying that the, “The change was not mandatory but part of an energy saving initiative in Branford Public Schools.” He also noted that the changes in the light bulbs are just the beginning of a long line in changes made on all Branford Schools to save energy.

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The Balm that’s the BOMB!!!!!!!!

Photo Credit: Alison Chew



By Alexandra Augustak

With the winter season coming along, you may notice changes in your skin’s texture. The cold and dry air associated with the winter season causes sensitivity and irritation in your skin to become even more evident. Your lips, especially, are prone to irritation as they are delicate and thin compared to normal skin. The cold weather naturally causes you to lick your licks for more comfort, which in essence, is what’s causing the lips to dry up even more. When licking your lips, your saliva strips away the natural oils produced by your body that keep your skin protected, leaving them dry and cracked.

Lip balms are a convenient and popular way of dealing with irritated skin, but what the lip balm corporations don’t want you to know is that sometimes the most common ingredients in any lip balm on the market can irritate your lips even more. Here are some important things to remember the next time you’re purchasing a lip balm product:

Avoid flavored or scented lip balms

Your best bet for buying a lip balm that does not irritate your lips is buying one which has no added scents or flavors. Scents or flavors actually causes even more licking of the lips, sometimes subconsciously, which in the end causes the lips to dry up.

Avoid lip balms with methanol as an ingredient

Methanol is an alcohol which is used in lip balms to give a cooling sensation. In reality, what is producing that sensation is the act of methanol penetrating your skin and stripping away protective layers of dead skin which in the end may cause even more irritation and dryness.

Get lip balms with sunscreen

Excess moisture from lip balms often causes the outside protective layer of your lips to degenerate, leaving them more vulnerable to ultra violet rays from the sun. Lip balms with sunscreen help protect your lips from these harmful rays and keep them healthy.

Other ingredients to avoid that may cause irritation

Lanolin, camphor, paraben, phenol, salicylic acid

Easy alternatives for lip balms

If you can’t find a lip balm that will not irritate your lips, simple remedies such as Vaseline or olive oil can help keep lips moisturized without the superfluities of scents or flavors that actually increase irritation.

Citations:

http://thebeautybrains.com/2008/03/20/is-menthol-lip-balm-bad-for-you/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/309032-lip-dryness-with-chap-stick/

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-and-makeup/addicted-to-lip-balm1.htm

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