Editorial: Understanding other side of message

Feb. 07, 2013 @ 05:39 PM

Day after day, as news cycles flash through vibrant only to turn old in a matter of hours, we’re seeing a common theme: communication.

In many cases, it is a lack of communication. Or in others, it is a failure to do so effectively, choosing words that correctly deliver a message.

When news came out this past week about Gov. Pat McCrory’s radio interview, where he found fault with higher education that didn’t gain jobs for graduates, the chairwoman at the University of North Carolina noted employers wanted graduates who among other things could communicate.

When the high school football seniors strode to the podiums on national television, or the microphones of their local television stations, for national signing day on Wednesday we watched many struggle to put sentences together. Some were more “polished” than others, but it was an interesting view into what is being produced.

Often in colleges and universities, students enter with solid grades and abilities, but challenged to communicate verbally.

We’re fascinated by the younger generations, who can teach us wonderful uses for the technologies we enjoy. But we also see their skills when talking outside their circle of friends, and we wonder how much the technology they’re using is impacting other areas of their life.

Texts and tweets are great for instant communication. Less talking means less repetition. Talks around the dinner table, whether children or adults, have dwindled — we’re a busy society, whether in schools, church or otherwise.

And instant communication methods, namely all the alphabet-soup acronym shortcuts, continue to indirectly erode recipients getting clear understandings when communicating in other forms of writing or in verbal discourse.

Thought into what we will say doesn’t get the attention it once did. And this, often times, despite more need.

In an age when the three R’s of education — reading, writing and arithmetic — are antiquated and more often replaced by STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — we encourage all levels of the education system to return an emphasis to communication. We’d hope more teens could go behind a microphone without making us cringe, and we’d hope more employers would have to worry less about the communication abilities of new hires.