A new University of Chicago study shows "very little difference and if anything, a slight positive advantage, in test scores for children who grew up watching TV early on, compared to those who did not."
Now, I’m not qualified to comment on the impact of TV on test scores, but I do feel qualified to discuss what I see as the impact of TV and computers on the ability of young people to write.
Poor writing (make that horrific writing) is PR’s dirty little secret. And each year it gets a little worse. I cannot tell you how many of my peers at the senior ranks of our profession lament the state of writing among next generation publicists entering the field.
I’d have to be equal parts sociologist, anthropologist, economist and educator to even begin to guess at all the reasons for the stark decline. But, in my mind, it comes down to a profound lack of reading and a proportionately high increase in TV viewing and reliance on the computer. Television and computers tend to "dumb down" the language and encourage grammatical short cuts and outright bastardizations of the language.
Sadly, the situation only seems to be getting worse. So, while I’m glad TV doesn’t hurt test scores, I can tell you it’s directly contributing to the rejection of many job candidates we interview who, in their writing tests, mangle the proper use of "its," "there" and "to," and love to use the phrase "should of" instead of "should have". It’s almost enough to make me want to not watch tonight’s episode of "24." Almost, but not enough.
Glad you didn’t skip last night’s episode of 24 RepMan. The script writers on that show seem to have spent at least some time reading in their youth.
Sadly, it’s not just bad grammar (although it certainly is that). It’s the misuse of words and phrases, and a near-complete inability to write with flair, humor and persuasion.