Please stop using the term “The Media.”
There are millions of different media outlets across the globe that publish in print, air on television, and broadcast on the radio.
People seem to think every single one of those mediums – and then some – are all working together in a plot that centres around world domination.
Whenever someone complains about “The Media,” my brain instantly imagines some dark chamber with robe-wearing billionaires trying to figure out how to sway the masses with some sort of domineering agenda.
I can’t confirm this doesn’t exist – but I’ve been in and out of the industry for a decade now and have yet to be invited to one of these meetings. I’d like to think it’s a potluck where Rupert Murdock brings potato salad and Ted Turner cheaps out and only brings plastic cutlery.
So why all of this distrust that makes the media into one lumped together entity of evil?
I think the mid-twentieth century had a fairly slim but straightforward ratio of nightly news programs and publications on news stands.
The ingestion of news was far from being the all-encompassing pastime it is now; it simply made up a brief sliver of the day.
With cell phones and social media (which is causing so much harm simply by having the word media in its title), you can’t help but learn information at every waking hour, whether that info is true or not.
Many have become exhausted and distrustful because of the non-stop bombardment that, I will agree, can have an agenda that either makes you suspiciously bitter or reassured in whatever ultra-specific theory you believe.
But I never thought attending journalism school would give me such a leg up in being able to sort through the tangled media web, but yet, here I am with a tried and true solution to help everyone navigate through it.
Are you ready? You want to hear my secret?
Turn off the news!
Seriously! Shut off CNN. Don’t have cable news constantly playing in the background.
Or perhaps instead of think-piece podcasts and talk-radio, listen to music while you pop earbuds in!
Oh, and SIGNIFICANTLY limit your social media intake.
Get world news from established sources and don’t forget to check in what’s happening in your own backyard from time to time.
Believe me, you don’t have to read every single story. Most stories are opinions nitpicking current events anyway.
Wait, did I just talk myself out of a column…?
Anyhow, it’s creating unnecessary anxiety and headaches in so many who want to constantly debate and dispute and come across as the most informed person in the room.
And it’s not just the stories – many of them tear-inducing downers – that are causing anguish. It’s the ability to instantly comment.
Reading the comments is like watching the Jerry Springer show on steroids. I feel as though I need a long shower after witnesses come fights that start with death threats and go downhill from there.
Would you craft letters and engage on a chain – back and forth – for months on a topic if the ability to instantly comment didn’t exist? I bet the responses would be a whole lot different.
Where does this come from? I’ve never gotten the urge to comment! It’s fairly easy to refrain from and when I’ve had that bursting feeling to correct someone or share an opinion – I can instantly sense it’s not coming from a good place.
Because of the stew of constant information and negativity, people treat little community newspapers like Bill Gates has some major stake in them and comes around routinely with his list of editorial demands.
I’ve been called every political insult in the book – and then some.
But you’ve got to assume you are doing your job right when your called too liberal and too conservative in the same day!
Yes, there is political news. But news isn’t political. When done right, journalism should inform, maybe even challenge opinions.
Sure, it can be a challenge for the writer to remain non-partisan. There are politicians I can’t help but roll my eyes at and some… you know, I don’t think there is a politician out there that I really believe in.
But that’s another story…
The story for today is that there people who write, edit, read, and are subjects of these stories – politicians included – are humans with emotions.
From where I am standing, there is no world-domineering agenda.
We’re just people passing along the message.
Can’t we a lot a few minutes a day to hear the headlines and move on without outrage?
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