Friday, April 19, 2013
Public Communication ... with Integrity
Communicating the Truth or Selling a Product?
Too often we have news networks who simply want to gain more viewers or sell more newspapers. They aren't looking to transfer information as much as they are looking to sell a product. For this reason they aren't looking for the truth but often end up looking for a conspiracy. People love a conspiracy, people love to watch bad news, and for this reason our media loves to twist and stretch stories in order to make it more interesting to the viewers.
The first thing that we need to demand from our media is truth. We need to demand the same as our courtrooms do: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We need to demand integrity from our media as they communicate the news to us. This is true in regards to all aspects of the news whether it is politics, entertainment, sports, or just general events.
Where is the Focus?
The Bible tells us to "hate what is evil, cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9), but for some reason human nature tends to seek out and cling to the evil, to the bad. This thought came up with the recent school shootings in Connecticut. People were wondering why we show the shooter so often rather than the victims. We often make the shooter famous but don't show the victims or the heroes.
Mr Rogers, the former kids show host, was quoted talking about his mom and how she taught him to "look for the helpers." This is what we need to do and this is what we need to demand from our media. In the wake of a crisis the media needs to start looking for the helpers. they nee to focus on the ones doing good rather than on the criminal. That is what we need to be showing the nation as an example.
Also we need to demand from our media more stories about the good that people are doing in the world. If someone murders a bunch of people then it makes national, and usually international, news within minutes, but if someone saves a neighbor from a fire it often barely makes the local paper. If someone helps a homeless person get a job and place to stay it is even less likely to get any media attention. Again let's get the heroes in the paper and in the news rather than the criminals.
By changing the way we communicate we can change the way people respond to events. By focusing on the heroes we can create more heroes, but by focusing on the criminals we will create more criminals. Let's demand more from our media. If you are in the media then please be one that is an agent of change. Use your position to change the spreading of information in our country.