|Back to November Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 178||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||NOVEMBER 2000|
|Teen's Website Takes on Channel One|
OIL CITY, PA - Oil City High School sophomore Ken McNatt has created a website to expose what he calls the "problem" of Channel One. While his chief complaint involves Channel One's two minutes of advertising for "junk food, shoes and video games," he notes that the daily 12-minute broadcasts have this year been "consistently almost 13 minutes long, a waste of student time which is funded by taxpayers like my parents."
Ken says he believes commercialism in the classroom is unethical. "At first, I complained about Channel One because I had to be quiet for 12 minutes a day," he admits. Daily exposure to the programming prompted him to do some research, and he found more important reasons to dislike Channel One. He began designing a website to inform other students and wrote an article on the subject for Obligation Inc., an organization that has been working for years to remove Channel One from the classroom. The article can be viewed on Obligation Inc.'s website: www.obligation.org/kenmcnatt.html.
While Channel One's broadcasts are billed as news and current events, Ken cites a Vassar College and Johns Hopkins University study which shows that only 20% of its air time is actually devoted to coverage of "recent political, economic, social, and cultural stories." The remaining 80% is spent on sports, weather, natural disasters, and advertising.
As Mr. McNatt's website points out, neither Primedia, which operates Channel One, nor Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, which owns Primedia, were in the news-gathering business prior to acquiring Channel One. Nonetheless, Channel One claims to be the primary news delivery vehicle for school-age Americans. Ken believes this is misleading. He describes one story that aired as "a report on how to cheat on a book report."
Ken welcomes input from other students. His email address is: iceman firstname.lastname@example.org.