Collecting data: Technology’s effect on communication, studies and expertise

Published: Granite Bay Gazette Vol. 19, Issue 2. Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 (can be seen here).

Category: News Gathering

Reason for publication: To give my hypothetical idea that modern technology was having a significant influence on communication I used a variety of published sources and a top expert. Quoted pieces of the published story are followed below by the publication or expert with which they were used from.


 

  •   “According to research published by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of cellphone users report using their phones during a recent social interaction. Cellphones “are always present and rarely turned off,” according to the Center, which claims that they are directly responsible for new social and communicational difficulties.”

This group of findings published by the Pew Research Center in 2014 surveyed a relatively high number of 3,042 cellphone users for their findings.

 

  •    “A new phenomenon describes the instance of using one’s phone to snub someone else – appropriately dubbed “phubbing.” Researchers at Baylor University have found that increased levels of unhappiness occur as an effect of phubbing.”

Baylor University published this study which found that “phubbing” – phone snubbing – can have detrimental effects on relationships, but also lead to higher levels of depression. Two experts in their field conducted a study which involved 453 U.S. adults and two individual surveys.

  •   “Technology could be the culprit of an even bigger emotional revolution, which has caused a 40 percent decrease in empathy amongst college students. Psychologist Sara Konrath collaborated with a University of Michigan research team to combine the findings of over 70 studies from 1979 to 2009 to conclude the shocking decrease in empathy. In an interview which took place via email, Konrath proposed technology’s plausible influence.”

This publication detailed the finding of over 30 years by psychologist Sara Konrath and her research team at the University of Michigan which concluded that college students have experienced a lack of empathy, speculating it might have to do with increased communication via online sources.

 

 

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Collecting data: Effects of sitting equal to effects of smoking, studies and expertise

Published: Granite Bay Gazette Vol. 18, Issue 7. Friday, April 17, 2015 (can be read here).

Category: News Gathering

Reason for publication: To give proof to the statement that the effects of sitting are equal to those of smoking, I used online statistics and a doctor for verification. Below are quoted statements from the published story alongside the publication/expert I found it through.

 


 

  • “‘Sitting is the new smoking’ is the new health-fueled, anti-sedentary behaviors slogan that has linked sitting, among other common sedentary conduct, as a major catalyst that heightens health risks such as cancers, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and increased risk of death. The American College of Cardiology has found that sitting can be just as detrimental as smoking to one’s health because sitting for prolonged hours of the day increases a person’s risk for such diseases previously mentioned.”

The evidence for the heightened risk for such diseases mentioned was found through the American College of Cardiology’s website, which can be seen here.

  • “Additionally, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found sitting for long periods of time increases risk for colon, endometrial and possibly lung cancer, and a 2008 Vanderbilt study concluded Americans spend an average of 55 percent (or 7.7 hours) of their conscience day sitting, or in other sedentary positions.”

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published this finding about increased risk for possible types of cancer through research conducted by two experts, alongside an entire department for disease control.

I found the Vanderbilt study concerning the number of hours average Americans spend sitting through this infographic published by juststand.org.

  • “‘High school students do spend a lot of time sitting,’ Dr. Arshia Islam a rheumatologist with UC Davis said. ‘However, whether they are at increased risk of … (having or suffering from) obesity, diabetes, or neck and shoulder pain depends on what they are doing to counteract the risks associated with prolonged sitting.’ Dr. Islam also said the factors contributing to the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle include a decreased metabolism – resulting in a decrease of calories burned – potentially leading to obesity and diabetes, as well as poor posture which can lead to musculoskeletal problems.”

Doctor Islam provided her expertise to this story concerning the effects of sitting and the possible solutions for the health risks/damages it causes.

 

  • “One study from Indiana University found five minute walking breaks may reverse sitting-related consequences, however this may not be a practical solution.”

This proposed solution posed by the Indiana University was published online here.

Collecting data: Great gun debate, statistics and polls

 

Published: Granite Bay Gazette Vol. 19, Issue 5. Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 (full post here).

Category: News Gathering

Reason for publication: In order to give solid standing to points made in a story I wrote about gun culture in Granite Bay, California and America, I used various credible sources which I will detail below.


 

Below are excerpts from my Great Gun Debate story followed by the sources with which I received the information.

 

  •    “In terms of guns used with a malicious intent, the degree with which gun violence occurs in the U.S. is higher than rates in other developed nations. According to Professor of Sociology Tom Kando, who is an expert in crime statistics and popular culture, firearms are used in approximately three fourths of all criminal homicides and suicides.”

Professor Tom Kando is a retired sociology professor and has a range of expertise which can be viewed here.

  •    “It is also true that while the U.S.’ gun death rate has decreased by 31 percent since 1993 – according to the Pew Research Center – a Harvard study found that the number of mass shootings since 2011 has tripled.”

The Pew Research study was compiled from information published by the CDC, the DOJ and the Research center’s own surveys. It can be seen here. The Harvard study was compiled from independent research from Harvard and Northeastern students and data published by Mother Jones. It can be seen here.

  •   “While a portion of U.S. residents favor an increase in gun restrictions – approximately 55 percent according to a Gallup poll – others stand strong beside the right to bear arms, guaranteed by the second amendment.”

This Gallup poll surveyed approximately 1,000 Americans over the phone with a sampling error of +/-4. Although the sampling error is larger than I wished for, the confidence level reported among those survey was significantly high – at 95 percent. It can be seen here. It is also important to note that this survey shows that U.S. residents’ desire for increased gun control is not at an all-time peak, which is why I specifically said that only a portion of residents favored increased gun control, although it is a slim majority.

  •    “As reported in a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, in 2013 the number of guns in the U.S. was expected to exceed the total population – 357 million guns compared to 317 million people.”

 

 

I found this article published by the Washington Post in which they use the Congressional Report that I also used. The article explains that it is hard to pinpoint exactly how many guns are in the U.S. at any given time, and it is only assumed that the number of guns exceeds the population. I could have cited their assumption, but chose to instead cite an older source which seemed more credible.

  •  “However, those who stand against gun control remain strongly opposed. These adversaries include Congressman Tom McClintock, who represents California’s fourth district which includes parts of Placer County.

 “‘The best defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American,” read McClintock’s official statement on gun control, sent electronically by his Press Secretary. “That’s what the second amendment is all about.  It is an absolutely essential pillar of our security.'”

This statement from Congressman Tom McClintock can be found here on his website, but it was sent to me in an e-mail by his Press Secretary.

  •  “This opposition to gun control is not shared by all elected officials, including President Barack Obama, who recently committed to reduce gun violence by using a series of Executive Orders. These Executive Orders plan to prevent gun crime by requiring those who sell firearms – whether in person or online – to have a license to do so and conduct background checks. Also, by funding personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to enforce the new gun laws, by increasing investments in mental health care and by asking specific departments, such as the Department of Justice, to conduct investigations into gun safety technology.”

 

I found these facts about President Obama’s newest Executive Order concerning increased gun control through the White House website, in this link.

  •   “The President’s Executive Action will affect other states more than it will California –which is known for having stricter gun laws than most other states. Among other restrictions, California bans certain assault weapons, restricts gun shows, requires a ten day waiting period before individuals can receive the gun they bought and requires that gun sellers have a license and issue background checks – a requirement also seen in the Executive Action. In some cases, in terms of the banning of assault weapons, California’s currently implemented restrictions exceed the level of restrictions in the President’s Executive Order. Because of this, the restrictions may not affect Californians to a great extent.”

I found a list of California’s gun laws and restrictions here, through a post from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, published in 2015.

  •    “Granite Bay itself may have an attitude towards guns different than most cities in California, and even the state of California itself. Placer County is one of the more Republican-dominant counties in all of California, with 45.95 percent of registered Republican residents. Because Republicans are generally more opposed to gun regulations, some speculate that Granite Bay is more open to guns and resistant of restrictions.”

  Finding a list of recent voter partisanship for Placer County was a bit difficult. I ended up finding it on Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s website in a list published for 2015, which can be seen here.

Collecting data: Consent survey

Published: The story that accompanied the survey was published through the Granite Bay Gazette, and on Vol. 19, Issue 3. Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.

Category: News Gathering

Reason for publication: To relate the consent story (which can be seen here) to the students of GBHS, I decided to conduct a survey which would evaluate students’ general knowledge of consent.


 

image consent survey

This is a copy of the survey which was issued to students. It tests students’ knowledge of consent by asking them to answer whether or not consent had been given in ten hypothetical situations.

The survey was issued to two classes per grade, it was taken by anonymous and voluntary students and the final result was a response for approximately 10 percent of each grade, which is statistically significant.

Here is the final result of the survey:

consent graphic

This graph represents the total student response from the cumulative classes. Here is an excerpt from the story, which can be seen in its totality here, that explains the individual data from each class level:

The majority of GBHS freshmen have not yet been taught about consent this semester, as they have not reached that point in their curriculum. Be that as it may, a survey administered by the Gazette, given to 10 percent of each grade, given voluntarily and taken from students anonymously, asked if consent had been granted in ten separate, hypothetical scenarios.

   “The survey showed that about 92 percent of freshmen, 80 percent of sophomores, 91 percent of juniors and 77 percent of seniors answered no, consent had not been granted, if one person said yes while drunk. If one party was unconscious, 99 percent of freshmen, 88 percent of sophomores, 100 percent of juniors and 100 percent of seniors said consent was not granted.

 If one party was the other’s significant other (i.e. girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse), 16 percent of freshmen, 20 percent of sophomores, 10 percent of juniors and 12 percent of seniors said consent had been given. Consent had also been given if one party has engaged in a sexual act with the other party before, as according to 16 percent of freshmen, 17 percent of sophomores, 10 percent of juniors and 12 percent of seniors.

 If provocative clothing was being worn by one person involved, 15 percent of freshmen, 12 percent of sophomores, 3 percent of juniors and 5 percent of seniors said consent had been granted. If one party began to remove clothing, 35 percent of freshmen, 25 percent of sophomores, 27 percent of juniors and 25 percent of seniors said consent was granted.

  Most seniors, juniors and sophomores have completed the Health and Safety requirement and have been taught about consent. But the survey results still show a significant amount of uninformed students unsure when clear consent had been given.”