Curious twos (pt. 1): Choosing the “brain drain” or the brain gain

I listened to two really interesting posts today.

The first, by NPR, was about the so-called higher ed “brain drain” of the job market in America today. What the piece was addressing was this common occurrence of hedge fund recruiters and financiers coming to Ivey League and upper tier universities to recruit students to join their ranks. The issue with this, raised by a Stanford collection of students, is that these companies are slicing off the top students at these schools—regardless of their major, as the NPR humors in one example of an English major being pressured by financial companies—and taking away the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that these students could take to other professions. It’s something that I honestly didn’t know anything about before I came across it on the NPR website, and I’m glad that I got to read about it and listen to it. One interesting point the piece addressed was the type of people who go into the financial sector. There are people in the world who are passionate about what they do, and there are people who are in it for the money. The latter is the type who go into finance, and a thought-provoking claim in the piece stated that maybe these people, with a slightly darker psyche than others, are the only ones who should be in that profession but that new, innovative minds are very vulnerable to the animalistic nature of finance.

But there was something I thought about this piece, and it was about the inherent value of not only the article itself, but also of the group it talks about, Stop The Brain Drain. I think I primarily say this because of our tendency, as the media, to embrace negativity as opposed to positivity. It’s not necessarily bad news bias, but it’s the attraction to conflict that I think is what fuels this. It’s kind of like the coverage of the Occupy movement—that of which I was critical, and I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to cover it personally because I knew I was emotionally compromised. I think we’re attracted to movements because of their antagonism. Yet, when looking at the bigger picture, what does this achieve? Why do we not go out and find the people who are trying to transform the financial sector instead of embracing our culture’s proclivity towards clashing? Now, this is a pretty idealistic idea for me to have, I realize that. But I think there’s merit in finding those special cases that show the positivity in change. I think the 1960’s model of revolution is over, and thus, I think harping on movements like Occupy and the one in this story is just a simple rehashing of an outdated concept. Fighting the system seems to be antiquated in America, and fighting from within seems to be an option that’s worth considering. So why not go out and find those people who are doing just that; the people who are actively reassessing what change within capitalism really entails? Now, while we as journalists can’t have an agenda, I think we have the responsibility to relay all the mentalities of an issue. That’s why we need to stray away from the sole coverage of the fighters. We need to cover the thinkers as well.

(His process)

This video is a good example of how someone took liberties in his innovation, rather than be absorbed into a mega-conglomerate. It’s good to cover the critique, but only with moving forward can we make progress as a society. And finding those people who are looking forward is important to make journalists as well-rounded as these innovators.

*Post-script: The NPR piece does have a little blip about the positive impact of these entrepreneurs in new markets, like manufacturing. It’d be interesting to see if this other perspective of the positive impact is real or just idealistic.

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