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FROM THIS EPISODE

More and more kids spend long hours on the Internet.  At the same time, reading scores are declining. Is there a connection? Does the brain work differently with a book than with a computer?  What’s the impact on reading proficiency? Should schools recognize that young people are on the Internet and teach them how to use it well?  Also, after 8 years of George Bush jokes, what will comedians do with Barack Obama? (This edition of To the Point will be pre-empted by holiday programming, but will be archived online.)

Producers:
Karen Radziner
Gary Scott
Katie Cooper
Christian Bordal

Reporter's Notebook Barack Obama and the World of Comedy 5 MIN, 43 SEC

As Inaugural Day approaches, Barack Obama is even more the center of world attention than he was last year, before and after Election Day. What does that mean for the world of comedy? Will white comics have to be careful? Will black comedians have a built-in advantage? Lizz Winstead is a co-creator of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, and star of the web show Wake Up World.

Guests:
Lizz Winstead, Co-creator, 'The Daily Show'

Main Topic Reading in a World Wide Web of Distraction 38 MIN, 29 SEC

The National Endowment for the Arts has a program called The Big Read, encouraging Americans to read books and talk about them together. The NEA program is one response to a disturbing finding: Americans are reading less -- and reading less well.  That's according to an analysis of 40 different studies, "To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence." Humans are not genetically programmed to read, but have to learn over time by reading books. Books are giving way to the Internet. As reading scores decline, some researchers claim the Internet is promoting superficial thinking instead of the wisdom that comes with patient study. On this archived To the Point discussion, we consider whether schools should teach children to use the Web critically. Should Internet 1-A be part of the basic curriculum?

Guests:
Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research and Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
Maryanne Wolf, Director, Tufts University's Center for Reading and Language Research
Elizabeth Birr Moje, Professor of Literacy, Language and Culture, University of Michigan
Lee Siegel, writer and author

Making News D-Day for Analog Conversion to Digital 5 MIN, 57 SEC

February 18 is D-Day for the conversion of all broadcasting from analogue to digital TV. "Rabbit ears" won't work any more, and there could major booms in appliance sales and cable subscriptions. Charles Golvin is principal analyst for the technology research company Forrester Research.

Guests:
Charles Golvin, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

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