We get immune to sad stories, we even avoid reading them sometimes. And then comes along a catastrophic event that breaks the monotony of the news cycle and the world sits up to talk about it.
Using the news of the Titan Implosion to kickstart the discussion at the Young Writers’ Club
The news about the submersible, Titan, imploding and instantly killing all five people on board made the headlines recently and received significant coverage across the internet. Titan is a submersible operated by Ocean Gate Expeditions, a tourism company that has been taking people under water to see the wreckage of the Titanic upfront over the last three years. The news brought to light that this wasn’t the first time and led to much speculation about what could have gone wrong.
An expert view on the matter to begin with:
James Cameron, the director of the famous movie, Titanic, has been on several underwater expeditions to the Titanic, says that under water expedition is not new and it started in 1960s. He adds that it has come a long way and there are plenty of safety protocols that need to be adhered to. Clearly, Titan seems to have missed something significant in terms of safety.
Reactions from the teens
In terms of safety:
“They used a $30 Logitech game controller in the submersible. That is definitely odd considering the nature of risk involved in going underwater.”
The others shared their disbelief too having read about this news by themselves earlier.
This piece of information confirmed James Cameron’s suspicion that safety protocols weren’t adhered to. It is almost like this was bound to happen for several reasons. We also discovered that the company could have been cutting corners considering that some parts of the submersible were jerry built.
Analysing the need for such extravagant trips
“The trip to the Titanic wreckage, cost $2,50,000 per person! I couldn’t begin to imagine why anyone would want to spend so much to go see a shipwreck under water. Why not watch the footage from the comfort of our homes for a small fraction of the cost, instead?”
“Makes sense, especially considering that the submersible is small, with space for only 5 people, devoid of any furniture, no windows but for a small provision through which it would be possible to get a glimpse of the wreckage. It is a long journey down with nothing to see along the way.” (Facilitator’s contribution to steer the discussion forward.)
“It could be for a unique or different sense of adventure.”
“For adrenaline rush? Sense of achievement?”
“We visit historical monuments on land for the sake of the experience of seeing them live, walking around them. One could argue that the tourists who choose to spend this kind of money on something like this, are also looking for unique and memorable experiences. Of course at what cost to safety, is a question that cannot be ignored.” This was followed by a thoughtful silence.
Does the news need a shake up such as this one to get noticed?
All the teens shared their dislike for tuning into news channels or reading the daily newspapers. They said they found it disturbing and sometimes lacklustre. There is so much crime and sometimes politics that leave a bad taste. While that may be true, there is plenty of interesting news coverage too that happens from time to time, but sadly get missed. Perhaps they aren’t as sensational as bizarre incidents such as the implosion of the Titan.
Seeing the paradox of extravagance on one hand and the less talked about news of people in need of help- could the excess money be used differently?
We briefly touched upon Former U.S President, Barack Obama’s statement about how the Titan implosion got a lot more coverage than the fishing trawler that sank near the Greek coast killing 700 migrants, which included children. One of the teens observed how on one hand there is extravagance and on the other there is a fight for survival, a fight for steady source of income to support one’s family.
The number of migrants who tragically died before they could reach safety, indicate how grave the problem is. Questions such as why were they migrating and from where? What went wrong with the boat? The news cycle may have covered these questions but somehow it is not something that is being widely discussed. The reason, all the teens agreed is because news such as the Titan are unheard of and hence become sensational. It makes people curious to know more. Other news such as the migrant crisis isn’t new. It is happening all the time with no proper solution in sight. There is perhaps little to talk about there. Ultimately, news is business and what needs to be covered perhaps is what sells well.
“… On one hand there is extravagance and on the other there is a fight for survival, a fight for steady source of income to support one’s family.”
Taking any news with a pinch of salt.
It is easy to get swayed by all sorts of information reported especially on the internet and the social media. We concluded the discussion with a reminder that the next time we read the news, we do so to be aware. We need to be objective, understand the need for the news to be reported and be conscious of the fact that there will always be more than one perspective.
Teens at the Young Writers' Club meet once a week to talk about matters of current relevance based on the latest news. These group discussions sometimes transform into healthy debates in which we discover new perspective and try hard to come up with information to support a given point of view. They also spend time writing in response to a variety of prompts- fiction and non- fiction. For more details, please fill the contact form below and we will get back to you asap.
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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-12 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.
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