Friday, September 17, 2010

The joy of college newspapers

College newspapers have a fresh attitude compared with the daily fish wrapper produced by “professionals” that lands on your doormat each morning. What’s wonderful about them is that, just like academic politics, the stakes are so low.

Sometimes there is sophmoric humor, like Public Speaking: How to Fake Your Own Death. In the Rocky Mountain Collegian on September 8th Jonathan Kastner gave some tongue in cheek advice including:

"....Keep in mind that it’s mostly about how you look, not what you say.

....Wrap yourself in aluminum foil to really make your arguments shine.

....Eat right before you go onstage in case you get hungry during the speech.

....A nice cold soda will keep you calm and focused."

Other times there is an serious approach, complete with a scary statistic. In the Ball State Daily News on September 1st there was a feature article by Meira Bienstock about how Fear of Public Speaking is Going Down but the Anxiety Remains. She claimed there was a Gallup poll which revealed that:

“While still high, the fear of public speaking has gone down by 5 percent in the past 10 years.”

I can’t find one which says that. There is a 2001 Gallup poll which shows a 5% decrease to 40% from the 45% found in their 1998 poll. But, that is not 10 years and the data are old news compared with the survey of college student fears I discussed in a post on August 1st. It looks to me like Meira didn’t bother to check the information she got from an instructor, Gayle Houser.

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