The front pages of our major news papers read like playbooks of failure.
Poor reporting of the news, ill-informed constituents, less than half of eligible Americans choosing to participate in voting, and corporations winning the power to run elections from the Supreme Court. It’s about dominance and greed; and, when the powers that be don’t hear from regular folks, they ignore us.
It almost makes you want to bury your head in the blankets, but you can make change. I challenge you to do one thing today, which is learn how to be a media activist, meaning learn how to call your local newspaper newsroom with an alternative to the bad news your are seeing on the front page.
Pick a positive story. Do you know a local business that is going green? Do you know an arts group that is reaching kids in new ways? What is good news for your community? I specifically want you to find good news, because it is uplifting to audiences and works diametrically to the usual “if it bleeds, it leads” press mentality. This is a viewpoint that is used to scare people and make them afraid to act. Are you participating in a volunteer effort? Call the press and tell them.
Find the general number for your favorite news outlet, call, and ask for the newsroom. When the reporter picks up say, “My name is such and such, and I have a story idea for you.” Explain your story and then say, “Thank you for listening to my pitch. I read your paper everyday, but I am tired of bad news. We need something different.”
Remember, it’s the media that persuades people that the problems we face are too hard to fix or that one group of people is dangerous. The media tells us that wars and consumerism are OK. Fox network has a larger viewership than all the other popular cable news outlets combined. And that’s not OK. You can do something about it.
Imagine if 10 people in your community called the paper today with a good news story. They’d have to print it. It would show them a demand.
Some helpful resources for media activism:
FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting