Thursday, November 23, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Earlier this week my six-year-old son asked me why people on the news always talk about “murders and dying”.
When you think about it, the fact that our news is often monopolised by death and tragedy, makes for quite a sad reflection on life.
And to think that this is what young kids are experiencing about world around them – it is no wonder that we have a generation of extremists – either emotional and worried about life or the opposite, taking crazy risks in order to feel alive.
While of course we all share immense empathy for people who have experienced tragedy, whether that be the sudden death of a loved one or the shock illness of a life cut short, do we really need to relive each trauma in the news we digest?
This is a subject we often battle with when putting the paper together each week.
We want to report the news, we must include the significant events that happen (such as a car accident), but we also want our readers to have a positive experience and feel uplifted by the content.
I think a lot of mainstream media have fallen into the trap of sensationalising tragedy and creating ‘click-bait’ content that turns a personal tragedy into a drama for vultures to feed upon.
This makes me feel sad as it is creating a culture that receives a bigger kick when hearing shocking news than it does when hearing a positive story of triumph.
Well, that’s what mainstream media tells us “sells” anyway.
But, back to what we do here at your local paper – we endeavour to fill our pages with positive news about people living great lives.
When there is a local tragedy, however, we always do our best to report on it with sensitivity and dignity.
We will make it personal, talk to the family if possible and include details that celebrate life rather than dramatise death.
When I asked my son what we should talk about in the news he said he wasn’t sure because it was like a devil was on one shoulder and an angel on the other.
Very perceptive, I couldn’t agree more!
Quote of the Week:
“News is the first draft of history” (Ben Bradlee)