Please stop using the term “The Media”.
There are millions of different media outlets around the world that publish in print, broadcast on television and broadcast on radio.
People seem to think that each of these mediums – and then some – are all working together in a conspiracy centered on world domination.
Every time someone complains about “the media” my brain instantly imagines a darkroom with robed billionaires trying to figure out how to influence the masses with some sort of domineering agenda.
I can’t confirm that it doesn’t exist – but I’ve been in and out of the industry for a decade now and haven’t been invited to any of these meetings yet. I’d like to think of it as a potluck where Rupert Murdock brings cheap potato salad and Ted Turner and only brings plastic cutlery.
So why all the mistrust that makes the media a single evil entity?
I think the mid-twentieth century had a pretty slim but simple ratio of nightly news programs and newsstand publications.
Ingesting news was far from the universal pastime it is now; it was just a brief moment of the day.
With cellphones and social media (which causes so much harm just by having the word media in its title), you can’t help but learn information every waking hour, whether that information is true or not.
Many have become exhausted and suspicious from the relentless bombardment which I agree can have a program that makes you suspiciously bitter or reassured no matter what ultra-specific theory you believe.
But I never thought that attending journalism school would give me such a head start so I could sort through the tangled media web, but yet I’m here with a proven solution to help everyone navigate it.
Are you ready? Want to hear my secret?
Turn off the news!
Seriously! Close CNN. Do not constantly broadcast cable news in the background.
Or maybe instead of podcasts and talk radios, listen to music while you put in your headphones!
Oh, and significantly limit your social media consumption.
Get world news from established sources, and don’t forget to check out what’s going on in your own backyard every now and then.
Believe me, you don’t have to read every story. Most of the stories are opinions pinching current events anyway.
Wait, did I just tell myself about a columnâ¦?
Either way, it creates unnecessary anxiety and headaches for so many people who want to constantly debate and argue and come across as the most knowledgeable person in the room.
And it’s not just the stories – many of which are heartbreaking – that cause angst. It is the possibility to comment instantly.
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Reading reviews is like watching Jerry Springer’s show on steroids. I feel like I need a long shower after witnesses come to fights that start with death threats and go downhill from there.
Would you like to write letters and engage in a chain – back and forth – for months on a topic if the ability to instantly comment wasn’t there? I bet the answers would be very different.
Where does it come from? I never wanted to comment! It’s pretty easy to refrain from it and when I had that overwhelming feeling about correcting someone or sharing an opinion – I can instantly feel it wasn’t coming from a good place.
Due to the constant news stew and negativity, people treat small community newspapers like Bill Gates has a major interest in them and regularly comes up with his list of editorial requests.
I’ve been called every political insult in the book – and then some.
But you have to assume that you are doing your job well when called too liberal and too conservative on the same day!
Yes, there is political news. But the news is not political. When done well, journalism must inform, even challenge opinions.
Of course, it can be a challenge for the writer to remain non-partisan. There are politicians that I can’t help but roll my eyes on and someâ¦ you know, I don’t think there is a politician that I really believe in.
But this is another story…
The story today is that the people who write, edit, read, and are the subjects of these stories – politicians included – are humans with emotions.
From where I stand, there is no program of world domination.
We are just the people who carry the message.
Can’t it take a few minutes a day to hear the headlines and move on without outrage?
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