Over to You


Are you interested in one week's work placement in The Irish Times? Transition Year students can learn first-hand about the workings of this newspaper if their submission is published in Media Scope's weekly Over to You column. Just send us a 200-word piece on a media-related topic.

Darragh Rogan, Scoil Mhuire Community School, Clane, Co Kildare

From its roots as a military communication tool, the Internet by its nature has no real place in today's society. So why does it keep on growing?

There are a number of reasons for the Internet's phenomenal takeoff, but the main driving force behind it is its lack of editorial restrictions; anybody can publish their opinions on affairs current or past, unrestricted by government policy or censorship - it is true freedom of speech.

While this may appeal to people wishing to share their views of the public figures in their country, there are also associated drawbacks. Last year, society was shocked by the US students who went on a killing spree in their school. Police later discovered that their bomb-making techniques were learned from the Internet.

Perhaps similar events to this will spark interest in establishing censorship, or restrictions on site content, thus killing the Internet as we know it.

Tony McDermot, Belvedere College, Dublin

"Aw, it's the ad break, see what else is on." This is a regular request in my household. It is usually accompanied by a number of groans of disapproval as we wait anxiously for programming to return. But before you agree and hum and haw along with the crowd, think about what television would be like without advertisements.

First, we should remember those ads which have made us laugh: the Budweiser frogs, the Rolo ad with the man and the vengeful elephant, the Kit Kat ad with the hypnotised dog - the list is endless. All our hearts are lifted when we see an advertisement for the first time and it makes us laugh, and the break in programming can add some relief to an otherwise tense drama. Just think about how many cups of tea are made during the break in Coronation Street!

Also, the standard of programming would drop dramatically were it not for advertisements. Stations would simply not have the revenue to buy the hugely popular foreign programmes which bolster their viewing figures so greatly. Imagine how many people would get their homework finished were it not for Friends, Home and Away and the ever-popular Dawson's Creek. Irish and British stations could not afford to buy these shows without advertising revenue, and they couldn't afford to produce shows of the same calibre and appeal either.

So television ads are not necessarily a bad thing, and are in fact essential for your viewing pleasure.

Write to media scope by posting your comments to Newspaper in the Classroom, The Irish Times, 11-16 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2, or faxing them to (01) 679 2789. Be sure to include your name, address and school, plus phone numbers for home and school. Or you can use the Internet and e-mail us at mediapage@irishtimes.ie

media scope is a weekly media studies page for use in schools. Group rates and a special worksheet service (see `faxback', right) are available: FREEPHONE 1-800-798884. media scope is edited by Harry Browne.