Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Media Without Boundaries

Journalism transcends every aspect of who we are. It’s strictly unfathomable. It appears that everybody: journalists, editors, doctors, teachers, psychologists, and news anchors alike have a different opinion about what media is and what it should be. The way the Onion chooses to run their production isn’t anywhere near how the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Channel Thirteen operate—but that, I’ve learned, is what makes each medium so effective. It’s the variance that explains and contributes to thorough coverage and intelligent angles, expressing the news in a way in which each individual will connect.  

“We aren’t interested in making the story glitzy or sensational, and as a result, the show stands out,” John DeNatale of Channel 13 said. Unlike so many other programs or publications, Wide Angle, a documentary-style news piece about a focused political or social issue in countries worldwide, seeks to draw attention to the real global concern and provide a tangible way for Americans to respond through giving or service. He added that reporting is driven by the takeaway. The news should be important to the community and answer the question that the viewer will be begging.  

“It’s not a matter of just covering the easy, low-hanging fruit but reaching beyond those ideas to generate more engaging, dramatic, effective story ideas,” DeNatale said. Others have spoken about the rise of new availability of information. The change in news is met with demand for investigation of facts, a finding of the truth, and strong reporting with a compelling thesis, pertinent and connectable to the place in which we live.  

The continuous adapting, editing, and manipulating of pieces is only as it should be. Without those changes being made, journalism would be stagnant and predictable.  

The Metropolitan Museum of Art brought a new perspective to the idea of writing and communication and displayed the importance of interpretation in language and connection to others in the society in which they lived. Greek gems were engraved with great detail because they marked ownership in a society where writing was unknown and language was not shared between traders and amongst peoples of the city-states. These civilizations relied on music, art, and dance to communicate, giving individuals the authority to interpret communication independently. Today, it’s the same idea. In the United States, we share a similar culture, language, experience, alphabet, music, and art, but each piece is left with something yet to be expanded upon—something left desired.  

The job of a journalist, at least, as I am beginning to define my own objective, is to provide the audience with the discovered information and present it in a clear and complete manner.
If the ancient Greeks found a method to communicate devoid of common language and understanding, we certainly should be capable of creating a system in which journalists look one step ahead and constantly seek to provide readers and listeners with the information that may contribute to their understanding of pertinent issues surrounding them and their communities. And you know what? When it’s done right, it’s effective!

-Danika Heatherly

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