Keep up with the news to win a prize

You could win $15 in Gator Cash by reading a short summary of international news each morning.

Starting on Monday, Feb. 20, the International Studies department will host a weekly international news quiz based on content released in the Daily Chatter, which Assistant Professor of Business and Economics Chris Finaret describes as “a short, digestible, comprehendible take on a current event.” Designed to be read in just a few minutes, the Daily Chatter is delivered to subscribers’ inboxes at 6 a.m. each weekday morning.

The weekly quiz program existed during the 2021 spring semester, but fell to the wayside as a result of staffing turnover. 

Desmond Corrado, ’25, is the student employee now in charge of reviving the program and creating the weekly quizzes. He said the goal of the quizzes is to encourage students involved in the world around them.

“I think as college students it’s the prime time for us to be informed citizenry because we’re the future,” Corrado said. “Whatever knowledge we have, whatever knowledge we possess will shape us and our decision-making, and I think it’s really important for us to know what’s going on in the world.”

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Corrado worked in a variety of food-service jobs which exposed him to a variety of cultures early in his life. These experiences pushed him to initially declare as an International Studies major before switching to Political Science.

“I think Americans — being an American — are too focused on their own country,” Corrado said. “It’s sort of something that drove me to (International Studies) is to like — we don’t exist in a little space in the vacuum of America. There’s so much more out there. And there’s so much more that’s really interesting, too.”

Corrado said that while reading the Daily Chatter will not be as immersive as working in a kitchen with a variety of cultures represented, it can serve as a stepping stone for students to become more involved with the broader world.

All five disciplines of International Studies — politics, economics, geography, anthropology and history — are regularly represented in Daily Chatter news, according to Finaret. Finaret said Daily Chatter is better than Google News and many other international news sources he is aware of because of its interdisciplinary approach to reporting. In his Introduction to International Studies class, Finaret regularly designs assignments around Daily Chatter as a way to introduce his students to the practice of reading international news, and said that most of his colleagues in the International Studies department use the service to some extent because it is easy to link the news to course content.

“You of course have to remember that this is a single current event and all of these countries have decades-long histories,” Finaret said. “Well, almost all of them, if not longer — if not centuries. It’s just kind of one little snapshot of what’s going on somewhere. But there’s so many places out there. You just have to slowly start seeing them in the news, reading a little something about them.” 

Shereen Bhan, ’23, was introduced to Daily Chatter during her Intro to International Studies class in the fall 2022 semester. She regularly read it to complete class assignments and came to enjoy its concise, informative format.

“I think it’s really well done,” Bhan said. “And it doesn’t — it’s not biased either. At least, I haven’t found it to be biased. It’s very just like, ‘This is what has happened.’ I also like that it sort of asks questions sometimes. Like, ‘What are the further implications?’ Kind of raises questions like that, rather than a standard article that maybe is a little more dry.”

Bhan said she has read it a few times this semester so far and that she is now more inclined to read it because there is a weekly quiz and the possibility of winning a grand prize.

Each Monday, a quiz relating to the previous news week will be sent out on MyAllegheny and stay open until 11:59 p.m. While each contestant can win the weekly prize of $15 of Gator Cash only once, weekly points will be tabulated for the entire semester and the contestant with the highest number of cumulative points at the end of the semester will win a grand prize.

Daily Chatter is currently the focus of the weekly news quiz program, but Corrado said he aims to construct questions that also hint at larger trends beyond the news represented in the Daily Chatter. He hopes this will enable anyone keeping up to date on international news on other platforms to potentially be able to collect the quiz reward.

Beyond engaging the general student population with international news, Finaret hopes that this initiative will further unite the International Studies department.

“That would be great to have that back — that “esprit de corps,” which is the (International Studies) department,” Finaret said. “I think they have it, but having more opportunities for it is good. It’s not quite as easy as other — it’s not technically a department. It’s a program. We don’t have as many classes, so I’m actually pumped (and) hyped that the students are kind of bringing that back as an effort to tie themselves together.”

Jess Bickart, ’26, is currently enrolled in Introduction to International Studies and won the $15 prize for the Feb. 20 quiz. As a political science major, Bickart said she appreciates learning about current events around the globe and discussing them in class. She hopes more students will become involved with the weekly quizzes as the semester progresses.

“You might as well just read it and try to win the $15,” Bickart said. “It’s really not that hard.”