MJi: Generational Media Differences

My mother, Ruby Jeanette Crow, 61, was born Sept. 23, 1954 in St. Louis, MO. She moved to Jonesboro, AR when she was 12 years old, and currently resides in Hobart, OK, where she is the Assistant Scanning Coordinator at United Supermarkets. Although she visits a few times each year, I conducted a phone interview with her on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.

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From left: Jodi Moore and Ruby Crow enjoy a New Kids on the Block concert in Oklahoma City in 2013.

When asked about her favorite type of media, Crow expressed that she especially enjoys social media, such as Facebook, and a physical copy of a newspaper. On a daily basis, she encounters media through social media on her cell phone, television, and radio.

Even though she was quite young, Crow’s favorite media memory was the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, which took place in 1961. She remembers watching the event on television in black and white, and reading about it in all of the newspapers she could get her hands on.  Likewise, the most memorable historic event mom witnessed through the media was the assassination of Kennedy just a couple of years later. She emphasized the overwhelming feeling of mourning the entire country felt in the days that followed, and noted that at that point in history, the media had evolved into something that could unify people throughout the nation.

Crow concluded by saying, “Life seemed simpler without all the media options. We were somewhat sheltered since we didn’t have instantaneous access to all the bad stuff.” She asserted that there are pros and cons to living in an overwhelming media world.

I also wanted a different perspective, so I spoke with my son, Sebastion Thomas Moore, 14. He was born in Jonesboro, AR on Aug. 14, 2002. When he was two years old, we moved to Hobart, OK, where we lived for 10 years, before moving back to northeast Arkansas. We now reside in Bay, AR. Moore is an eighth grader who is an avid reader, loves playing percussion, excels at Chess, and thoroughly enjoys spending time at Barnes & Noble. For this assignment, we took some time after church on September 18 to talk about our media usage.

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From left: Jodi and Sebastion Moore take in a May 2016 baseball game at Busch Stadium.

When asked about his favorite type of media, Moore quickly responded, “Books!” For the most part, he enjoys learning about Greek mythology, and reading young adult fiction; however, he also occasionally likes to read about the origin and evolution of percussion instruments. During a typical day, Moore is exposed to the Internet, books, television, radio, and his cell phone.

As far as his favorite media memories, he mentioned watching the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2011 World Series, and more recently, watching Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields win Miss America 2017. He did ask me to mention that I forced him to watch the latter, but he was proud of Miss Arkansas nonetheless. The historic media moment Moore most strongly recalls happened in December 2015, when his Intro to Keyboarding teacher decided to livestream the events going on at Arkansas State University, which involved Brad Bartelt driving onto campus with a gun, gasoline, and a propane tank. This was extremely scary since I work in the Student Union, and his texts were not coming through to me while we were on lockdown, so he had no idea if I was safe.

Moore asserted that without so many media options, it would be hard to get information. “I’d feel disconnected from the rest of the world,” he said.

I feel that I share the use of media mediums with my mom and my son. Like my mom, I prefer a physical copy of a newspaper over an online version, and in line with my son, I access the Internet daily. Because my mom grew up in a generation when media was much more limited than currently, when my son has access to information at his fingertips every second of the day, I think I fall somewhere in between with the amount of media I consume. I do have a tendency to take in a lot of media online, so I probably line up more with my son in where I get my information.

Media choice could potentially affect knowledge of local and national issues depending on how limited your access is, the bias of the owner of the media outlet, and how much a person chooses to research. For example, if I take the word of one news broadcast, and don’t bother to get the opposing point of view, I’ve limited my knowledge. Because I spend a lot of time on a college campus, I have the luxury of conversing with many knowledgeable faculty members who specialize in certain areas. I feel as if this expands my viewpoint in various areas. Even if their opinions don’t change my mind, I do appreciate conversations with knowledgeable adults.

I don’t believe our media usage make our values different, because I think that values are something that are strongly passed down through generations. With that said, I also believe that my son will be thrust into a world of political correctness that my mom and I did not have to live through. Things that are against what we believe will be very openly in his face on a regular basis due to the media world we live in; whereas, we had to deal less with those issues.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this assignment. It’s nice to take a look at things from the past, and somewhat create a “timeline” of media usage. I wasn’t actually surprised at the media we have in common. My hope is that we will continue to explore new types of media as they become available, yet not forget how to communicate face-to-face without the use of technology.

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