They’ve perfected texting but teens need to dial the digits

Credit: Wikipedia
Credit: Wikipedia

Teenagers know how to text. They know how to multi-task — like eating a pizza, playing Xbox and listening to music. But many of them don’t know how to hold a business conversation on the phone and this might be hurting their chances for getting a job later on.

I teach journalism at Rowan University and coordinate the student-interns at companies all over the Philadelphia area. They intern at The Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC10, Philadelphia Magazine, Quirk Books, WXTU-radio, WTXF-Fox 29 and many other places.

At each company, they must conduct business on the phone. But this generation of students often lacks the skills for the task. The result is they are nervous at their internships and trepidatious when doing phone interviews for jobs after they graduate.

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, with the black rotary phone on the kitchen wall of our house in Tacony practically implanted on my right ear from the time I became a pre-teen. I called my friends constantly, after my parents taught me how to say: “Hello this is Kathryn. Is Anne home?” If I needed information on something, my mom said: “Call and find out.”

My phone skills served me well throughout my career as a newspaper reporter. But my students are stumbling. They grew up texting and instant messaging. If they want to talk to their friends, they text them. They order pizzas online. They email us teachers about class assignments. If their phones ring, they don’t answer it and instead text the person later.

The result is many of my student-interns are apprehensive when they first get on the job. They write me weekly logs of their intern experiences and many describe being scared and unsure how to gather information on the phone.

Obviously, the Internet has changed how offices work. But some work is still done on the phone. My students who intern for sports at The Philadelphia Inquirer call coaches to get scores and stats. At South Jersey Magazine, they call local schools to find students who are “Stars of the Week.” At WTXF, they call public relations people to get details on upcoming events. But at first, many student-interns don’t know how to do these tasks.

So I am asking parents and guardians out there to work with your children on phone etiquette, skills and manners. Model for them how to make a doctor’s appointment, wish an elderly aunt “Happy Birthday” or call the cable company to complain about a bill.

You may need to text your teens to actually get their attention. But the end result will be worth it.

Kathryn Quigley is an associate professor of journalism at Rowan University and a Philadelphia native. She can be reached at kathrynsquigley@gmail.com.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Movies

Review: 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'…

The belated sequel "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" makes one question whether the first one may have been not so hot. Still, Eva Green vamping!

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…