Hard to believe it’s only been two weeks since the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, coverage of that tragedy coincided all too well with my recent posts on journalism.
Millions of words have already been written about what happened, so I simply want to leave you with this:
To close out this series of posts, I wanted to talk about one last aspect of modern-day journalism: interaction.
In the old days, news was a one-way street. Reporters gathered the information — interviews, research, photos/audio/video — and then put out the stories. We read them. The end.
Well, I guess if you really wanted to respond, you could write a letter to the editor.
But nowadays we are not limited to that kind of silent consumption. We can be contributors, in a variety of ways. For better or worse. (Maybe both.)
– Thanks to the proliferation of digital cameras, smart phones, etc., it’s easier than ever to participate in “common man reporting,” as I called it earlier. We can gather the information now — interview, research, photos/audio/video. All at the touch of a button.
– Thanks to the internet, we can also publish the stories ourselves. Via Facebook, Twitter, email, personal sites, and more. The whole web is like a 24/7 broadcast, in a way, and each of us has our own channel, if we want it.
– And even if we don’t want to do any of that, we can still hold a microphone to our virtual mouths. Comments are like our generation’s letters to the editor. Only they tend to be a lot uglier, with worse spelling and more all caps.
In theory, I’m glad that everyone can have a voice. Because voice is power, voice is vital. Too many bad things have happened throughout history when people were denied their rightful voices.
But part of me wonders why some individuals feel the need to air such vile and vicious thoughts online. Why are they clamoring for their meanness to be heard, to be validated? And what do they think it adds to the news?
Maybe we all need to learn how to sit quietly within our own minds.
(And some people definitely need to be taught manners and common decency. Sadly, arguing or engaging with those people online is pointless — counterproductive, even.)
Anyway. Those are my thoughts. That’s my voice, being shared on my channel. For better or worse. Maybe both.