Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A day without technology

Could you live for a day without electronic media -- no TV, no cell phone, no iPod (or any other kind of MP3 player), no radio, no CD player, no computer, no video games?

That's the challenge Danna Walker, a professor at American University, posed to her "Understanding Mass Media" students last term. You can read her fascinating account of "The Longest Day" , which ran Sunday in the Washington Post Magazine. (If you get a dialog box asking if you are registered, don't worry. You can register for free.)

Danielle Marsh, a reporter for The Gargoyle, the student newspaper at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL, took on a similar experiment last January. Check out her first-person story about her technology-free 24 hours.

According to Brian Thompson, the newspaper's adviser. Marsh's experiment was inspired by a study on Internet addiction that the paper had reported on. "It made a good package for us that was pretty widely read by students," he wrote in a discussion on the College Media Advisers' listserv. "Might be fun for others to try, too."

Marsh's piece is a great example of how to make an engaging, readable personal feature out of a hard news story.

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