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Media: The Difference Between Newscasters and Whom They Inform



Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 168
Justina
CALIFORNIA

When I was a younger whippersnapper, I dreaded the ten o'clock news broadcast like none other. I fidgeted beside my parents as they intently listened to talking heads who droned on endlessly about matters beyond my first grade comprehension. Eventually, I would come to despise these news broadcasters.

As an adolescent, I began to grasp the substance of these stoic-faced reporters. They spoke indifferently about terrifying subjects such as rape, murder, terrorism, and the like. Though light-hearted topics occasionally earned mention, negative stories yanked my heart strings more compellingly. I couldn't believe how news anchors could speak with such a lack of emotion about a murdered child and then cut to a jubilant weather forecaster predicting atmospheric conditions. The juxtaposition of these issues just seemed wrong! I loathed the apathetic newscasters who generated money from reporting local and global tragedies. It appeared that calamities received more attention than jovial stories. Consequently, I believed the news media intentionally desensitized the masses so we could not possibly feel sorry and melancholy for every misfortune; there simply existed too many disasters in life. I then transformed into the ultimate cynic – and only at the meager age of twelve.

Now that I'm older, I refuse to become jaded by the constant bombardment of bad news. Last year, I watched a film called Hotel Rwanda that included one line of dialogue that significantly altered my perspective. The movie chronicled the Rwandan genocide and how Paul Rusesabagina, a five star hotel manager, saved thousands from prosecution. When Paul found out that a photographer was publicizing the mass murders, he rejoiced at the thought of informed people intervening. In response to this spark of optimism, the photographer uncomfortably replied, “I think if people see this footage, they'll say, 'Oh my god. That's horrible.' And then they'll go on eating their dinners.” Thus Paul realized that it was the Rwandans' responsibility to save themselves.

From this dialogue, I learned something crucial about the news media. The news media's duty is not to instigate action – it merely exists to inform.

The media caused me to consider how I can react to societal ills.

With tragic news comes an opportunity for rare, empathetic individuals to rise and initiate a positive response to the known evils of the world. We are given a chance to become heroes and perform brave and extraordinary tasks. For instance, the catastrophe in Haiti prompted a seven year old boy to take action and ride his little bike to raise £200000 for the relief effort.

In essence, the news media presents us with what it thinks we should know, but it's ultimately our responsibility to use that knowledge to make a difference and thus spread hope to those who need it most.

As a wise mentor advised me, two types of people dwell in this world: talkers and do-ers. The news media are fundamentally the talkers and it's up to us to be the do-ers. So which will you be?
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Comment by sullysolipsism


Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Great blog; so true. It makes me think of the current crisis in Japan. I'm just as guilty as anyone else of reading the news, thinking, "Oh, how terrible," and then continuing on with my day. :( And I almost feel as if I'm guiltier than others b/c I'm half Japanese.

So yeah, great blog (and you have an incredible vocabulary!).
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 4:01:22 PM
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Comment by Justina


Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 168
@ sissysulli

Thank you very much! If you have relatives in Japan, I hope they are alright :/
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 3:29:33 AM
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Comment by sullysolipsism


Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
I have a few distant relatives but as far as we know they're fine (they're further south). I visited Japan in sixth grade and stayed with my grandma's brother's cousin's uncle's son (I actually have no clue what our exact relation is, but it's ridiculously distant regardless) and he and his wife are fine as well. Thanks for asking. :)
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 3:45:33 AM
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Comment by sullysolipsism


Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
BTW, I just saw your comment on my "pessimist" thought of the day thing from nearly five months ago for the first time! Wow, thanks, that was great. Too true. I like to think my attitude has changed since then . . . Hopefully for the better (uh oh . . . does that sound pessimistic to you?). :) Well, no one has posted anything saying, "KEILAH YOU NEED TO LIGHTEN UP" recently, so maybe I'm on the road to recovery. :)

I'm sad to say that I haven't read Catcher in the Rye yet. I need to put that on my list as well. You piqued my interest.
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:17:32 AM
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Comment by KatFlo101


Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 6
Never thought of the news like that. I like it
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 1:26:53 AM
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Comment by michness


Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 210
ishmealarmageddon,

I'm the Writing Intern for StageofLife.com.

We wanted to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Media writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.
http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandMedia.aspx

Two things...
1) Megan, our PR Coordinator, will be in touch with you via email (the one you used to register for StageofLife.com) to see if you'd like to be named in our national press release going out via PR Newswire.
2) Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on TIME.com and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on StageofLife.com. Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.

Michelle
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:24:42 PM
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Comment by DarkStar49


Joined: 5/28/2009
Posts: 332
I loved reading this. Many of your points hit home. Great essay!
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 2:05:46 AM
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Comment by SOFLarchive


Joined: 1/6/2012
Posts: 111
Good essay. I agree with you about the media. The media needs to be more sympathetic to tragedies and talk about news that are more important than other stuff.
Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2012 4:18:01 PM
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