GRE Argument Essay 59
The following appeared in an article in a magazine for writers.
“A recent study showed that in describing a typical day’s conversation, people make an average of 23 references to watching television and only 1 reference to reading fiction. This result suggests that, compared with the television industry, the publishing and bookselling industries are likely to decline in profitability. Therefore, people who wish to have careers as writers should acquire training and experience in writing for television rather than for print media.”
The author of the article that appeared in the magazine for writers believes that those who want to have a career as a writer should write for television instead of other print media since television is more popular. This belief of his is based on the survey, which showed that people made more references to watching television in a conversation than to reading fiction. However, the author of the article does not exhibit logic and reasoning in the argument that he presents.
First of all, on the basis of the findings of the survey, it would be incorrect to say that compared to the television industry, other print media would decline in profitability. If there was only 1 reference made to reading fiction in a conversation as compared to 23 references to watching television, it does not mean that people watch television more often than they read books. There is no way to confirm from the argument that the interest of people in books is dying. It is possible that people still read a number of books but do not refer to them during the day. In a conversation there has to be something in common between the two people who are interacting. It is only if the two have read the same book that they can refer to it in their conversation, which is very unlikely. However, it is possible that the conversation related to television refers to a show that has been watched by many people.
The findings of the survey cannot be taken as a general trend across all the people. It is likely that the survey was conducted mostly on people who watched television more than they read fiction. It could have missed out on people reading fiction and making more references to what they have read in their conversation. It can also be said that when the survey was conducted there was some news of great importance, or a show that has gained a lot of attention on the television. This indicates that people will talk about the show more often in their conversation. On the other hand, during that time if there has been no noteworthy work in fiction, it is obvious that there will be fewer references to it in conversation. Therefore, it can be said that the survey can be misleading, forcing us to draw incorrect conclusions.
It can further be argued that if there are more references to the television than to fiction in a typical day’s conversation, it does not indicate towards a growing television industry. Nor does it show that the publishing and book selling industry is declining. There are many other factors that are responsible for the growth or decline of an industry. Television industry can also decline if it does not broadcast any interesting serials. On the other hand, if the books being published are extremely popular, they will be sold all around. The growth of one medium does not show the decline of another. Both the industries are independent of one another and can grow at the same time.
If we believe the argument to be true for some time and say that the publishing and bookselling industry is likely to decline profitability it does not mean that writers have no career in the print media. There are many other options that the writers in the print media have. The newspaper industry is a huge print media and requires potential writers. Similarly, writers can write for magazines apart from just writing books on fiction.
Conclusively, it can be said that the inference deduced from the survey is baseless and incorrect. The author of the argument should instead have a broader bent of mind and view the prospects for writers in a new light.