Final thesis

Maria Benoit

Team 8

When the Florida International University Bridge collapsed on March 15, 2018, the University received speculation from the Miami Herald, which ultimately led to further investigation from the Federal authorities in regards to them keeping confidential documents away from the media, suppressing information from the public, and further exercising its valid federal regulatory authority amid the bridge collapse. This decision was primordially based on the influence of electronic media on a global level.


Final Essay Thesis

The 2016 presidential election has been one of the most culturally divisive moments in recent American history. Mainstream media colluding with political candidates has been cited as one of the main reasons for the election of Donald Trump. Why is it that legacy media coverage played such a large role in dividing the country and why does it still continue to this day?




48 Hour Blackout

Roger Sanchez/ 4918689

You capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment.

Excellent work! Cogent, sensitive, complex.

Watch out for run-on sentences, commas, etc.




I am the epitome of Deresiewicz’s definition of the “Contemporary self”. Deresiewicz and his argument that the phenomena of “celebrity and connectivity” control our modern day culture hold true. The modern-day property that grounds the self in 2018 certainly is “Visibility”. The 48-hour blackout was quite a cathartic and challenging experience in today’s 24-hour news cycle world. The experiment was especially difficult as it landed right during the Kavanaugh hearings; here within the United States nevertheless, I persisted with my solitude. What I was felt was a peculiar sense of isolation because the world knew everything around me but I did not know what was happening around me. I could only compare it to how Trilling defined “the modern fear of being cut off from the social group even for a moment.”


What followed for the next 24 hours was an inundation of the two modern emotions of loneliness and boredom. Although I was still going to work and living my life as usual, long gaps of “nothing to do” led me to its negative state of boredom, from which my smart phone would always save me. I was able to realize how technology amplifies those two modern emotions when they are abruptly cut out of your life. As the days continued, the romantic ideal of “solitude” could only be reached while I exercised and kept exercising and keeping my mind solely focused on a temporary goal. Whenever this focus depleted, what followed was a deep sense of withdrawal and anxiousness that came with it.


A deep sense of “not knowing” overtook me not knowing what my friends and family were doing on social media, as well as not knowing what culture was doing. There was a sense of electricity in the air, a shift in the culture. Everybody had a particular opinion on something that was happening in real time in the “connected consciousness,” but I was disconnected from this. Like a hermit, I decided to break apart from the global village and constant stream of serotonin-injecting information cycles that are confirmation biases crave.


The lack of “actionable information” I was receiving also made it difficult to make plans with my immediate circle of friends, for I was not in the know regarding places to be or future events that would be coming to town. Thoreau was correct in the “doubleness” that solitude cultivates as well as his observation that taking a stand back and viewing the world apathetically did make me come off as rude or uncultured to some. In conclusion, I believe that news is a necessary intrusion into our solitude, for without news we are disconnected from the “Global village”. Although at the same time I believe that news does tend to create certain solitude in individuals when the information being presented to them conflicts with their prior confirmation bias. We can view this solitude as a direct correlation to the rise of alternative news media sources on the internet in its attempt to reject various mainstream media narratives seen today.

48-Hour News Blackout

Maria Benoit,

You capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment.

Well written, coherent. I don’t think you had to spend as much time summarizing Deresiewicz. Perhaps yo could have spent more time analyzing yourself and your reaction–which you get to near the end. But otherwise, OK.


Professor Pearson

Team 8

1 October 2018


The overall purpose of this individual assignment, was to help me understand the importance of news in my life, as well as to experience a measure of solitude. William Deresiewicz article: “The End of Solitude”, will be used to support my primary observations and reactions, throughout the 48-hour blackout.

According to Deresiewicz, solitude has changed through the ages, in respect to the idea of one being alone. This change nearly caused our digital information society to eliminate any hope of solitude, while doing little to nothing to change the current outlook towards loneliness, let alone towards building true friendships and communities. In today’s society, there are mainly two cultures that helped influence and ultimately form the contemporary self, and they are: celebrity and connectivity. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways for the self to become known. This is precisely what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, it wants to be connected and visible in the world. From past experiences, I can relate to Deresiewicz argument because I use social networking sites, like Instagram and Snapchat to post pictures and to increase the number of followers for the purpose of seeking validation of others.

After experiencing the 48-hour news blackout, I realized that that there were three main observations and reactions. The first physical observation that I recorded happened during the first 2 hours of the “twilight zone of partial solitude,” when I noticed how deeply I relied on technology, specifically the devices that are most accessible to me, like my phone and computer. My reaction to this observation was followed by a sense of panic, boredom and loneliness. The idea of disconnecting myself from all TV news, Iphone news apps, and Web news sites was harder to endure than I thought. I suddenly had all this time for myself and it felt strange knowing that I am completely left in the dark, not knowing what’s going on in the world. I decided to take this time to observe my surroundings and focus on myself.

As the hours were passing by, I started to record my reactions towards boredom and feeling lonely and empty. All I kept thinking about was to go on my phone and look at the gossip sites and news sites to feel whole again. But this sudden craving of connectivity made me realize that we normally rely on information from an outside source to make decisions. Today’s society, undoubtedly takes news for granted.

Deresiewicz said, to hold oneself apart from society, is to begin to think one’s way beyond it. I did just that. During this “twilight zone of partial solitude,” I held myself back from society, looking out and observing everything and everyone. Sometimes it’s best to tune out all the noise that is media, news, technology and to tune in on your yourself.


Michelle Da Silva.You capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. I especially like the blue part below. Good work!

Only about 400 words out of a possible 500. Watch out for run-on sentences. Maybe stop by the writing lab to have them read over your essays?

Team 8.

Since the moment I read the assignment last class, I had a big curiosity about how it would would it be to spend 48 hours without news. And to be honest, I had a grateful I was grateful for a surprise in the process, even when at the beginning it was truly hard for me to maintain withhold myself from anymyself out of any social media that could lead me to the news that may be happening around the world.

I believe I had the opportunity to discover myself a little more, but most important I could understand the dependence that we have, nowadays, with the smart phones, our main source of information from for young adults. I remember having a strange feeling each time my friends sent me news from celebrities, either a breakup drama or an important music announcement from my favorite singers. It was a feeling of darkness and ignorance of the perception of the world. I also felt excluded from diverse topics that my family were talking about. I was born and raised in Venezuela, and not being allowed to hear and be informed about the situation in my country, made me frustrated and sad. I felt that I didn’t have a voice or strong opinion in their conversations because I was not aware of any recent news.

On the other hand, the fact that I had to avoid all types of news for a certain time, made me remember old habits, I was completely disconnected from social media so I started to do activities like painting, drawing, dancing and many others. I did it not only to distract myself and spend some time, but also because I actually had time for it. The lack of social media made me realize that sometimes news is simply a distraction from what we have in front of us, our passions.

I do believe news maintain keeps us connected with the environment and our society, bringing people together no matter the distance between them. However, the problem begins when we let the news consume us until a point we become addicted to the knowledge of power without investigating the source of information and its validity. In a world so interconnected we must be aware of the information we learn and talk about because the news has the power to make us isolated intellectually and lost within our surroundings.

News Blackout

Susana, You capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. Good defense of the joys of watching the news. 

A lot of repetition, some run on sentences, wordiness in general. 

Being without news for 42 house was harder than I thought. In the article the “End of Solitude” by William Deresiewicz, he explains how as time goes on, people are losing their solitude. With This exercise, it helped me understand solitude because I was unaware of what was going on in the world. Going without news for 2 days did make me feel distant from the world.

I watch a lot of news because I like to know what is going on in the world, also so I could be in and be part of the conversation. This is exactly what Deresiewicz meant when he said: “the computer is creating a culture of connectivity”. As a human being, Everyone likes to be included, and with the news people can connect. Now, everyone in the United States has access to the news and knows what is going on. Everybody has a different viewpoint on what’s going on and has the right to say it. . Because of the news, everyone has a political party that they support or a sports team to follow. The news is a great way for everyone to be connected.

In this political climate, everyone is glued to the news. Everyone wants to keep a closer eye on the president because we all want to see when is the next time he “drops the ball”. Deresiewicz said, “We are doing this to ourselves; we are discarding these riches as fast as we can.” [THE AUTHOR MEANS WE ARE REMOVING THE RICHNESS OF BEING ALONE TO THINK AND CLEAR OUR MIND BECAUSE WE ARE CRAMMING IT FULL OF GARBAGE NEWS] We are discarding our time to meditate, reflect, enjoy our own company, and enjoy solitude because we prefer to watch the news, not because we are scared but its come to a certain pleasure. For those who didn’t vote for him, every time he says something that is incorrect we take it as pleasure. Pleasure because we like it when he is wrong.

Going through this experience has taught me that the news is everywhere. As I was on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and watching late night shows I noticed that the news is everywhere. In today’s world, the news is getting to us even if we don’t want it, like Deresiewic said: “it is impossible to be alone.” Especially in today’s society everyone is talking about the news on different platforms and explaining their point of view. Going back to what I said previously. But apparently everyone likes to be connected by what is going on. This is not only on social media but it is with classmates and friends.

To get away from the news I didn’t really do much. All I had to do was turn off my news notifications, not click on the “news” sections in different social media, and not watch the news updates at the beginning of the late shows. I watched different movies and kept to myself when I would have been watching or reading the news. It felt liberated being away from the news because of all the stress that it releases. The news is mostly negative, so being away from it made me a more positive person.

48 Hour Blackout – Chris Loggia

Chris, you capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. Good description of your personal experiences. A LOT OF REPETITION, SHORT BY 100 WORDS.

In this day and age in society where everything revolves around the internet and social media sites, it drives to a culture, stated by Deresiewicz in the article “The End of Solitude”, of celebrity and connectivity.

I do see myself in this argument and am part of this culture because social media is so embedded in our society, and most of the population takes part in social media sites that it makes you want to be recognized and acknowledge by everyone including complete strangers. The ego wants to be recognized and now that it’s easier and more accessible to be social it has turned into a culture that the majority is practically addicted to.

Today our culture revolves around the internet and social media. We are addicted to celebrity and connectivity, even with complete strangers. 

Immersing myself in a 48-hour blackout from all news outlets really created a feeling of solitude. I am so accustomed to checking my phone constantly and going through social media apps like Instagram and snapchat that it has become a habit. Not only do I use these news outlets when looking at news but when I’m bored as well. When I’m bored I usually use my phone and go through these apps to scroll through popular news headlines. What I noticed in the 48 hour blackout is that I was growing anxious and reaching for my phone subconsciously out of boredom. I had to remember and force myself to put my phone down or not use any news outlet apps. In those moments I began to feel detached from the world around me and isolated, a sense of solitude. Not reading any news and not having others tell me how and what to think gave me time to create my own thoughts. Deresiewicz’s states how feelings of both loneliness and boredom are closely allied. During my experience, I felt a deep sensation of boredom because there was a part of my regular routine missing.

After the blackout I was relieved and was able to catch up on everything I missed. This is when I realized how important the news is and how we take it for granted. News outlets connect us to the world and the things going on in our society. Our generation is so used to it since we were basically born with it that we don’t know how to live without it. I believe that news is a necessary intrusion to our solitude. Not only does it inform about what’s going in the community but connects all people as well. [GOOD]