Friday, January 2, 2009

Did you guys see this story? The 10th graders in the Communications Arts Program at Blair won the WaPo crystal ball competition. They beat a ton of political experts and their predictions were crazy close to the actual outcome. I was in CAP 10 last year, so I didn't do crystal ball because it wasn't an election year, but it was a really great class (Mr. Freeman is fantastic) and I'm not surprised they did so well (CAP has actually won before, but not for a while). I've never emailed ALOTT5MA before, but I thought this was pretty cool.
Two things about this email intrigued me -- first of all, that these tenth graders outwitted the professional pundits (and semipros like Silver and Kos), and secondly, that we have a reader who's in the eleventh grade. For real, I figure the median mode reader of this site is a mid-thirties white urban lawyer, so of course I wanted to figure out what the heck she was doing here. Her name is Maddy, and she reports:
The school is Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD. It's a public school, but it has two magnet programs-- the Communications Arts Program (CAP) and the Math-Science-Computer Science Magnet. The kids who won crystal ball were in 10th grade CAP-- they did the project in NSL (National, State, and Local Government-- our county's way of saying American Gov.) Crystal Ball asks political experts (and a couple of high schools) to predict the general election as well as key senate races.

And the the story of why a random high school student is reading your blog is a bit long but here goes: A little more than a year ago I got pretty sick. I went from playing sports and barely watching any TV/generally being out of the pop culture loop to watching hours upon hours of TV a day. I've since gone back to school part time, but I'm still at home, tired and bored, much of the time, so I continue to watch a lot of TV, obsess over pop culture, and spend way too much time online (I even started my own TV blog because I needed something fun to do). During my extensive online travels I came across Alan Sepinwall's blog, which led me to ALOTT5MA.

Sorry, that's probably way more than you wanted to know. I actually have a question for you, if that's ok. How do you find all of the crazy and random stories you link to in the blog?
I'm happy to answer that one, and I invite my colleagues to jump in -- basically, I just know who the best editors are out there -- which sites are most likely to have found the content I'll find interesting -- traditional media like the NYT/WaPo arts sections, the essential TV Tattle, PopWatch, really, everyone along the right side of the page here. Plus I newsgoogle And then collectively, God willing, we serve ourselves as useful secondary aggregators (and analysts) of what we find. And if teenagers find it interesting, well, um, okay!

e.t.a. Our under-25 and 50+ population is making itself known in the comments. If you're among them, do let us know.

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