As a fiction writer, we are told to ‘grab their attention in the first two sentences, or you’ve lost the reader’. Now personally, I think that if the reader can’t devote at least the first paragraph to me, they are not going to be able to follow what I’m saying.
But – is journalism the same as fiction writing, at a very basic level?
True – we use many of the same methods, but I’m sure you’d agree that not ALL of the methods that fiction writers use are acceptable in journalism, are they? When you look for news of the day, how much ‘creative liberty’ do *you* think is appropriate?
Personally, I say – none; but that’s my opinion. However, I will say this:
*Journalist have much more power than ‘normal’ writers. We can create worlds where the rules are our own, and only our characters suffer for it. but JOURNALIST – when *they* create worlds, WE suffer for it.
*We ALL suffer when it becomes difficult to know what is fact, and what is opinion
*We ALL suffer when FACTS are mis-reported
*We become completely disenfranchised as voters, and cannot truly participate in our democratic processes, when we are fed falsehoods and opinions shaded as facts.
This country has a sickness; and it is two fold:
It lies in opinions portrayed as news,
and People who can’t (or won’t) tell the difference, for whatever reason.
Now, you can read this as you will, but this is NOT an indictment on CNN, or any particular organization. For all their failings, most do still have some journalistic integrity, and they DO still try to give both sides (to a degree) to a story.
They don’t always succeed – but lets face it – -WE did this. WE turned the news into a business, a business that needs ad revenue – a business that needs to make money.
WE gave them this mandate. We gave it to them all. So WE are to blame.
OK – how do we fix it?
By changing course. Any intelligent person can see an error, and correct for it. Now is the time to correct.
We need FACT checkers – independent institutions – not guided by profit or ideology – to challenge Bullshite when it’s given as news.
***AND, we need the NEWS organizations to challenge each other for **PROOF** of contentious stories.
We also need to personally have MULTIPLE sources for news. Find an opposing viewpoint and LISTEN to LEARN (not to respond) and see what you may question.
Questions are the beginning of knowledge – and knowledge is POWER.
Empower yourself. We *are* broken, but not in the ways you’ve been sold on; and it starts in your home, right now, and carries on through every moment forward.
Be bold – live well; stop believing only what you WANT to believe, or what you are TOLD to BELIEVE, and EMPOWER YOURSELF.