The Weekly Tally 07.08.21

FREE SPEECH

It’s an easy dis to throw around, and now it’s also the title of an academic paper published June 28 in the journal New Media & Society: “Only ‘sheep’ trust journalists? How citizens’ self-perceptions shape their approach to news.” Co-authors Jacob L. Nelson and Seth C. Lewis (an assistant professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, and chair of the School of Journalism at University of Oregon, respectively) interviewed 60 adults via Zoom to learn about their approach to news consumption. What they found was a general skepticism of the news that cut across differences like political affiliation, age and education level. “For many of the people we spoke with, the news serves as an intellectual foil – something they can push against and knock over. Our findings offer a counter-narrative to the conventional wisdom surrounding the mechanisms by which news consumption unfolds,” the authors write. “Many tend to assume that people seek out news that will confirm their political viewpoints. In reality, people see the news as inherently untrustworthy and feel obligated to do journalists’ work for them.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I grab my will and paperwork that says I own the house.” - Dee Heckman, an Arroyo Seco resident, on evacuation during the Willow Fire—and whatever other fires are still to come (see News story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

It’s a good week for the Point Sur State Historic Park. State Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, announced that he has secured $4.5 million for “infrastructure renovations” at the Point Sur Lightstation. The funds will help ensure that the landmark “will be protected and preserved, safeguarding the park as a prime tourist attraction for all Californians,” according to Laird’s office. The state historic park, located along Highway 1 in Big Sur, encompasses both the iconic lighthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and has undergone significant restoration work by the nonprofit Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers in the past years, as well as the nearby Naval Facility. It is unclear what specific restoration projects the money will be spent on. Both locations are open to the public by volunteer-led tours – tour fees also support restoration.

GREAT:

It’s a great week for the thousands of families who are about to get low-cost children’s books, thanks to an idea by Joshua Deutsch. As a former medical resident at Natividad, Deutsch got the idea to produce affordable, culturally appropriate books, with themes related to health and nutrition and featuring characters who resemble his patients – farmworkers, Spanish speakers, people of Indigenous descent. He hopes to get more families reading, which correlates with better health outcomes. Deutsch, now a doctor at Mee Memorial, created the group Justice With Health which officially launches its book program on July 9 with the distribution of 18,000 books at clinics in Monterey and Solano counties. (Clinics paid $1 per book, and will distribute them for free.) “Clinics serving low-income patients should provide books,” Deutsch says. “It can promote literacy and help shape health behavior.”

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