The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

No one reaches teens like MTV, even with the news

For the past few months, contrary to popular belief, MTV News has attempted to educate their young audience about the Iraqi conflict. Through their television broadcasts and online news commentary, MTV attempts make complex concepts easily understood by viewers.

In a time when many adolescents are concerned with their immediate interests, some might say that the youth of America will do little to enlighten themselves about current events. Others may say that MTV provides dumbed down accounts of contemporary issues.

On the surface, an MTV News reporter, dressed in a Marilyn Manson T-shirt, speaking in simple terms while “The Real Slim Shady” plays in the background, might make adult viewers deem the credibility of MTV News to be limited. One cannot argue that MTV’s reporting is as informative as CNN or even the nightly news, but at least teens are learning something about the society they live in and what is occurring in the global community.

When young students go home in a car that has a bumper sticker saying: “NYC: Home of the Fallen towers,” driven by a parent who has recently lost their job, they will be eager to know what is affecting their loved ones. These teens might not watch CNN, but MTV News provides them with the details pressing global concerns that our nation is facing.

MTV is straightforward with their news and appeals to a younger demographic. News is reported by people who dress and communicate in a similar fashion to the audience.

“An MTV Forum With Tony Blair: Is War the Answer?” aired on March 10 and enabled young people from all over the world to listen to and question the British Prime Minister. Blair explained reasons for a potential war and said that “getting rid of Saddam would be an act of humanity.” Such programs are designed to trigger discussions in the home and at school. 0By providing the basic facts about current events, MTV is encouraging adolescents to keep up with the latest reports.

In order to further emphasize the relevance between global issues and the individual, MTV News focuses on specific groups of people and the teenagers within those societies to increase cultural awareness.

Gideon Yago, a reporter for MTV News, visited Kuwait and explains to American youth how minimal social barriers are among cultures. Yago spoke to a 23-year-old Kuwaiti who said, “Kuwaitis don’t just love America, they love Americans, American culture, [and] what America represents.”

Yet, Yago also points out the rigid caste system in Kuwait and how many teenagers are fearful upon remembering their lives during the Persian Gulf War. Still, two teenagers who were interviewed came across as relatively similar to Americans. They “go online for networked gaming. Their room is adorned with posters of Will Smith [and] they’re also big fans of Britney Spears and their mother’s cooking.”

Within our own nation, MTV reports on what other teens are doing to express their views on current situations. MTV News provided coverage when a Lebanese-American student in Chicago wore a T-shirt to school that had an illustration of the twin towers and a man in traditional Middle Eastern garb. This student was suspended but his mother claims that her child wore the shirt to defend himself against the discrimination he was facing in school.

MTV is eager to report on important issues, including those which directly affect and interest adolescents. Of course, MTV also incorporates music and pop culture into their global news. To grasp the attention of their viewers, MTV reported that Saddam Hussein was asked to stop using Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in commercials for his reelection campaign.

MTV serves as a link between the news and the youth of America. It is an influential tool that educates the next generation of Americans to take an interest in national and global issues.

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