Saturday, October 22, 2011
Occupy . . . 24/7 Media!
Within a few hours, a reporter from a major daily newspaper stopped by to chat. The grad expressed appreciation for her college education, felt well prepared and given great experiences, but that, alas, she had yet to secure the job of her dreams. The reporter scribbled and nodded and walked away. The grad held her sign higher and when evening came, traveled back to her apartment with her friends, glad for the opportunity of solidarity.
Until the next day. The grad read in horror one lone quote out of all she'd told the reporter. Out of context, she appeared in print as other than she knew herself to be. And her education continued as 24/7 bloggers and lazier reporters grabbed that quote (without one calling the graduate to verify if she'd really said it) and recycled it for their own—often ugly—purposes. One lone sentence ripped from the bigger story of this graduate's life threw her into a tailspin of doubts: maybe she hadn't looked hard enough to get a job. Maybe she wasn't qualified. Maybe she shouldn't have protested.
When reporters get it wrong, especially in this 24/7 news cycle, more than just a story goes awry. Talented and well meaning young people who want to make a difference are affected, their vision to contribute is compromised, their voice diminished a little more than it should have been. They begin to think twice about what they can and can't do, and worse, who they can and can't trust in the media. Without truth in context, the news defeats the very purpose it was supposed to provide: reporting accurate information that helps citizens draw their own conclusions about what should or should not be occupied.
Posted by Jo Kadlecek at 6:51 AM