BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – In these polarized times people tend to turn to their favorite echo chamber for their national and world news and there is very little in the way of middle ground.
You know, that place where truth most often resides.
You know how it goes. One friend says the omicron variant is more serious than Delta. Another friend says it’s the other way around. Another friend says it’s all a fraud, part of a government plot to … well, to do something.
The Virtual Enterprise team at Bakersfield’s Centennial High School has an answer. Or at least the bud of an answer: An app called Middle Ground that gives the debate some direction.
“Our entire mission is centered around education first, about political and governmental topics,” said Nick Helton, CEO of Centennial’s Virtual Enterprise team. “We’ve actually secured a partnership with the Kern High School District for $500,000. We’re providing our app to all their students within Virtual Enterprise.”
It works like this. You select the debate you need answers for – omicron, Ukraine or something else topical, click a tab, and you’ll find reporting on the subject, left, right and center. The Middle Group app offers CNN, Fox and Reuters.
“We realized that political discourse, this fake news, this bias, was so important, it’s so relevant today,” said Max Geissel, who works in the team’s marketing department. “We really wanted to find a solution for this.”
The app, not commercially available for the time being, has only a few topics to choose from – hey, these are high school students who have other classes. But it seems like a pretty good start to addressing an issue, in this era of fake news and fake claims about fake news, that has only grown more intense in recent years.
The Centennial project was part of the annual Virtual Enterprise competition, hosted by the Kern High School District at its Career & Technical Education Center next door to Independence High School. It attracted high school teams from all over the country – as far away as Buffalo. That team from upstate New York proposes the latest fashions, delivered to your door by drone. The ideas were as diverse as the students.
Some of them actually made sense. Attention investors!
But few rang with the urgent need of Middle Ground, whose developers looked at a nation divided on the question of what constitutes a fact and what doesn’t – and did something about it.
And the judges at this competition agreed, placing Centennial in the top eight, with the champion to be decided next month. But Centennial High School’s Middle Ground team is going to New York for nationals – if they can raise the money.
Is the Middle Ground app coming to an app store near you? Well, probably not anytime soon. But the idea? That’s a good one.