Mike Sterling for CCNews
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Recently, I stopped to see two of my grandchildren on the way to visit a few old friends who I worked with almost 50 years ago.
The girls were home and one is graduating from the University of Michigan in April. Her sister follows her in the fall. The older girl received all A's in every subject from freshman to senior year from this top level school.
Somehow she managed to become fluent in French too. She has a 'Jeopardy' like memory Her roommate just took a job as an engineer in Texas with a substantial starting salary. It's a high-tech startup. Both girls seem to have friends who achieve in school subjects and music. That's a good sign.
My younger grandchild bounced in complaining a bit about her mathematics partner though, who had done zero on their joint project. I asked how she was doing in her Calculus class? She said fine. We started a conversation about it. She looked a bit apprehensive. I could see it in her eyes ... "oh, oh, here we go with grandfather again....".
She expressed amazement that all these people in the past figured out derivatives and integrals. You know, people like Newton. Yes, I agreed, it is a miracle. I mentioned that there are some very neat derivatives. One of the most interesting is one in which the function is its own derivative. I asked her if she knew what that function is? She responded immediately that it is ex
I was impressed!
She will go away to U of M in the fall and take majors in Journalism and English, not math and science over a four year schedule. She's the editor of her high school paper. Nothing like a well rounded education to increase her knowledge and ability to write and interview.
It's always puzzled me when I see or hear news reports that are done by journalists who are not used to interviewing scientists. They sometimes make excuses about their poor showing in math and science. They say: "Oh, I was scared to death of fractions, story problems and never could master anything further."
This is annoying. Why didn't somebody send the right person or coach them on decent questions? It would be better to just ask a general question and forget the angst from their grade school least common denominator struggles. Just ask them what they are working on now.
They don't ask the right questions and the interviews often just fizzle. The secret is just get the person talking.
Charlie Rose seen on US PBS is a master at getting the most out of an interview. The reason? He gets people talking and does not interject himself. He is enthralled by learning new things.
Many journalists have no trouble interviewing performers about music, although they may not be music critics or performers themselves. We don't expect them to sing like an opera star, but don't tell us about your struggles with piano lessons.
The modern world requires journalists who have broad general knowledge. There is no place to hide. It's a Google World.
We all lack knowledge. Journalism has some good people, who know how to ask questions. Maybe my grandchild will have that skill set. I know she's not afraid of derivatives and she was on the debating team. There is hope for the 4th estate, because kids are smarter than their grandparents.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012