Thursday, December 31, 2009

Whatever Makes the News

by Jourdan Cameron

A short while ago I started hearing about a certain man in a car accident; his wife had rescued him from the wreck with a golf club and he was mostly unharmed. Later I heard that this man had cheated on his wife with various women. This story, while indeed a sad one, is indeed common throughout the world. Yet, I heard this story over, and over, and over through media outlets major and minor for weeks on end. So what was the big deal?
The man's name was, as you likely guessed, was Tiger Woods; known to many as the world's best golfer, known to some as a friend, and to one as simply Daddy.

One night, as I watched the news, there was a short blurb about a woman murdered before her children. They mentioned her name and I heard my mother gasp. I felt the food in my stomach turn to cold, wet sand as she clenched her hand across her mouth to keep from screaming and began to cry. She explained that the victim was an old friend of hers. I felt nauseous, and looked back up at the television. As quickly as the story started, it stopped. The anchors quickly turned to the news of rumors about Tiger Woods marital infidelity, and I simply wanted to vomit, as they spent several minutes on what a few people said they did with the man.
I sat back and began to think; how can something so hideous and horrific as a woman gruesomely slain before her children's eyes be of less importance than a man cheating on his wife? Why does everybody across the nation seem to know about and actually care about what he did, while the information about the poor murdered woman only receives limited, local coverage?
It's a travesty known as Mass Media.
Things of real gravity are drowned out by what's known as sensationalism. The Mass Media could truly be used as a source for good, like making a point of highlighting environmental issues and what you can do to help, or encouraging non-violence in life, etc.
Instead, we're stuck hearing things that won't be of any use too us (or things that don't even concern us, for that matter).

So what do I recommend? Quit taking it. Inform media outlets that you dislike how they give very little importance to the things that are important, and that you'd like them to change.
Encourage people to make their own news (see Wikinomics and for more on the matter) and do so yourself! If there's a local issue you'd like to see covered, don't be afraid to write an article and take it down to your local newspapers, and maybe even publish it on your blog.
Lastly, don't give up.

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