Tag Archives: journalism

there’s a difference

We owe a debt of gratitude to the journalists and reporters whose work is to make sure the truth is exposed and the public knows the facts. Too many have too much to hide. It’s the dedication and commitment to the truth that is the bedrock of our freedom.

forging bridges of empathy

HPMG

Sara Nović, author of Girl at War

“Writing is always a political act, but I expect that will become even more explicit in light of the Trump administration-to-be’s well-documented animosity toward the academy and journalistic practice. Now, more than ever, writing and art is critical for its capacity to educate, transport, and forge bridges of empathy. But we are beyond business-as-usual, and art alone is not enough to induce the mass cultural and political change this country now needs. Writers must now use any public voice we have to push that change forward and be on the front lines in protecting and amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations. Elie Wiesel said it best, I think: ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim … Sometimes we must interfere.’”

As I continue to grapple with the present reality I am encouraged knowing that we have the power to speak out and make our voices heard. We have an awesome responsibility, a moral responsibility, to make sure we “forge bridges of empathy” with those most vulnerable under the new leadership of our country.

As I wrote in an earlier post this week, “Those of us who live in love have to take sides. We have to speak out against every hate crime we see, and we must, likewise, take every opportunity to prevent hate crimes from occurring. Silence on this issue is not an option.”

if it doesn’t bleed…

What is newsworthy? It’s far more than a philosophical question for me.

I took Journalism 101 before the turn of the century, and I have been working with journalists and reporters most of my adult life. I am also always actively seeking publicity for the various nonprofit organizations I work with and of which I am a part. I am comfortable with the media. I know a little about what is news and what isn’t.

One of the first adages we were taught in my journalism class was that “if it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead.” Some things never change.

Every since the collapse last month of the garment factory in Bangladesh, the news of this particular tragedy has been close to  continuous. It is newsworthy. Over 1125 people lost their lives. That is definitely news.

What bothers me is that the media coverage of that singular event continues after almost a full month. Over 1125 people died in a tragic accident. That’s news. I understand that.

But, during this media feeding frenzy and shark-like ripping at the carcass of that story, over 25,000 of our family have been needlessly dying from hunger related causes every single day. That’s over 750,000 unnecessary deaths in the month since the Bangladesh building collapse. Yet, I can find no coverage of these deaths.

Where is the media coverage for the victims of hunger? Why isn’t the unnecessary deaths of these innocents newsworthy?

“If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead.” Maybe the victims of hunger are dying too quietly. They just need to bleed more.  Or maybe the world just doesn’t give a damn about the poorest of the poor. It’s obvious that the media doesn’t. The hungry just are not newsworthy, even in death.

If we ever get serious about ending the moral obscenity of hunger in a world of plenty this will have to change.