Summary of Reasons to Oppose YNN
Chris Worsnop, Mississauga: a summary of arguments against YNN.
- YNN occupies curriculum time that is not controlled by the teacher. One of the teacher's professional duties is to control the timing of curriculum.
- YNN takes over from the teacher the control of the content of part of the curriculum. One of the teacher's professional duties is to select curriculum content carefully according to the needs of the class. This prerogative has now been usurped by a corporation.
- YNN news broadcasts may offer versions of news about topics the students would otherwise be ignorant of, but the news is all coming from a single source, with a single bias. The sample tape we have seen contains: a story explaining that the problems with Canada's economy are the fault of too much government spending on social programs; a story about Quebec separatism that is clearly biased against Quebec, and that does not even give the subjects on screen the courtesy of allowing them to speak for themselves, but substitutes a voice over explanation of what they are saying. It was not TV but radio with pictures.
- YNN claims that it will be a source in the school for media literacy. It will offer through its satellite curriculum services (which do not yet exist) to give schools training in media literacy. This is rather like setting up the fox as supervisor of the chicken run. Real media literacy would be helping students to understand the one-sidedness of the news reports, the cream puff relationships between the news topics selected and the desires of the advertisers, the contradiction between the life style promoted by YNN commercials and that promoted by other parts of the curriculum such as Health and Phys Ed, Family Studies, Environmental Studies, Science. Ethics, Philosophy. Religion - practically everything with the possible exception of Business.
- YNN contains 2 1/2 minutes of advertising every day. 30 secs is to be devoted to PSAs (public service announcements) These could conceivably be of the kind that we have recently been treated to by our beloved Ontario government, explaining how we have all got it wrong about the health service. In the sample program we have seen (There is only one in existence so far as we know - so much for the daily broadcast) there was a PSA from health Canada about wellness and smoking. It was followed by an ad from Kelloggs for sugary breakfast cereal. Do these two cancel each other out? Which one might have been wasting its money? Who pays for the PSA?
- Regardless, delivering a captive audience of students to corporate advertisers is just wrong. Renting the students' minds to advertisers is wrong.
- There are plenty of alternatives to the news portion of the YNN program. There are: CBC newsworld; CTV news channel; CNN; CBC News in Review; Cable in the Classroom; Canadian Daily Newspaper Association (CDNPA); MacLeans in the classroom - or any combination of the above. None of these obliges us to deliver the students gagged and bound for their advertisers.
- Time after time over the past seven years YNN's promises about programs to be offered have turned out to be wishful thinking. Deadline after deadline has passed without YNN delivering what it has promised. At Sydenham High School in the Limestone board, the principal last year decided to cut bait on YNN because every commitment turned out to be unreliable, and every deadline a fiction."
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