I first heard it as a slogan in my mind: Using the media to make a difference.
What other phenomenon touches and influences more people than media? Whether it’s TV, newspapers, magazines, social media or other online sites, what we are absorbing is who we are becoming.
Are we using this phenomenon, this tool, wisely? Here’s a quick look:
The good: Experience the joy against all odds to watch the Chicago Cubs clinch the National League Championship Series and move into The World Series. Following that decisive game last Saturday, coverage expanded for over an hour, just capturing the thrill from the viewpoint of the players, the fans, and this city.
The bad: We all know it’s true. The media chases the flavor of the day and repeats ad nauseam whatever story is hot at the moment. And it’s only gotten worse, as the narrative takes a celebrity-driven, personal, positional viewpoint at the expense of including a diversity of issues and doing the in-depth research to present information and stories that are helpful.
The ugly: By using fear and vitriol under the guise of news or entertainment, media coverage divides us, rather than unites us. Human beings basically want the same thing; we just have different ideas of how to get there. But our fundamental beliefs and our efforts to improve our lives have become like a sporting event where we act as if only one team can win.
Here’s a prescription for media that makes a difference: More universal truths please. More common ground. Working together. Acknowledging different viewpoints. Being true to yourself. How to help your neighbor. Helping a friend.
Maybe through the media we can all be #BetterTogether.