Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Good Speed of News

Coverage of the Chilean miners last week was a welcome reminder of the powerful role broadcast journalism can still play in our 24/7 news cycle. Who watching didn't get choked up as each miner stepped from the capsule after two and half months stranded underground? How could we not be moved by the sheer inspiration such a rescue provided in digital color?

Just weeks before, I'd felt again the virtual power of high tech journalism as word jumped across the Internet of the publisher's page-one editorial confronting the drug cartel in Juarez, Mexico. He had good reason to run the piece on the front page of his newspaper: he'd seen two of his own—a reporter and a photographer—killed trying to cover the thugs. The international press from his column brought much needed attention to the issue and place that has become one of today's most dangerous places for journalists.

Sometimes I loathe the immediacy and glut of news these days. But when I see these stories, I'm taken out of the smallness of my own scenario and reminded of a bigger story. I'm richer for it. That's the impact today's journalism can have. It can bring inspiration, attention, and hopefully, change.

Much like the Civil Rights Movement did in the U.S. in the 1960s. When courageous young men and women marched to end segregation, it was the relatively new medium called television that challenged the country. After all, one cannot sit comfortably in his living room when watching little girls hosed down by firemen, and attack dogs directed onto teenagers.

Such images, such stories, confirm for me that honest reporting is still the stuff of freedom.

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