Media As My Career… And Feeling Good About it.
Following local and national news stories daily by scanning the internet. As well as computers, television, and web design. Along with reading different blogs. Therefore, I am one of those people who like to be informed about what goes on locally and around the world.
However, I am always seeking out the most interesting stories. Some of the hottest topics are cannon-fodder for the water cooler; while others are deemed more relevant to dinner table conversation.
Reviewing different news stories is like taking a trip to a local sandwich shop. You select the ingredients you want on your sandwich and ignore the rest. Nonetheless, I do the same with the news. Therefore, I read the most interesting stories and ignore the irrelevant ones.
While reviewing different new stories; I always wonder what separates a newsworthy story from a non-newsworthy one. President Obama becoming the first African-American president was definitely newsworthy. While Jessica Simpson’s recent weight gain isn’t.
Nevertheless, if the average person gains a few pounds; it won’t make the evening news. But an overweight celebrity is always a headline grabber.
So what is the best ingredient in a newsworthy story? Is it something that shock value? Hmmm..I am not even sure if there is anything in the news that still has shock value.
There was a recent news story about a group of people who created a sport which involved pit bulls and pigs. Like any other popular sport, there were spectators and a concession stand. You could enjoy a beer and a sandwich while watching some helpless pig get maimed by a pit bull.
I was surprised…not shocked.
Former NFL player, Michael Vick, brought animal cruelty into our homes; with endless press coverage of his engaging in tormenting and killing dogs for sport.
What’s most shocking is how people can easily stand by and watch an innocent animal suffer. Or be killed without blinking.
Withal, before the popularity of twenty-four-hour news channels and the internet. Anyhow, I can remember being appalled by cruelty to animals, and teachers having sex with students. As well as corporate executives looting their companies while screwing over their employees. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s; these were considered shocking events.
Today’s average citizen has become desensitized to acts of cruelty and violence; that once shocked many of us to the core of our humanity.
We are no longer surprised about headlines describing acts of inhumanity. As well as cruelty, evil, various types of illness. Also, types of breast cancer. With that said, we accept these practices as typical and continue with our lives. However, I have known people who have opted not to have children. This is because they do not want to raise a child in today’s society. The thinking is logical; they have made a personal choice to keep an unborn child. From someday becoming a potential news headline.
Some of the problems that I go through as a media person
This include false standards; You get it wrong. And you get a phone number wrong; Also, you get a contact detail wrong. Perhaps you get an important fact or statistic wrong.
Anyhow, the most high-profile example from Western Australia I can think of was; in the last state election held in 2005. Where the then opposition leader Colin Barnett proposed to build a canal; from the Kimberley in the North-West of Western Australia to Perth. To bring water down south and solve Perth’s water crisis.
At the media and arts conference held to announce the costing of his canal concept. Two days before the election, the savings document he presented was more than $200 million out. Howbeit, this ruined his credibility. And had a major impact on his ability to get elected. Although he could not recover from this faux-pax; Colin Barnett did the best thing he could give in the stressful situation and accepted responsibility. ‘It’s done through my office. But I am the person. I accept responsibility for it,’ he said (ABC 2007).
As media people we are also human beings, we do make mistakes. We make mistakes in representing the standards or your message.
How do I overcome that?
Well, I prepare a written media statement, media release or news release. I give that to the media. A media release is a stylized piece of writing containing quotes, facts, as well as relevant news. Always double check my media release. So there are no mistakes.
Another way of overcoming misrepresentation is to ring up the journalist; who has interviewed you. Get the quotes checked to ensure they are accurate.
With that said, in many countries, this is an accepted practice. As well as us journalists do not mind if you ring up to check the accuracy of quotes; this does vary with journalists. After all, it is not acceptable. However, to ring up and ask to see a copy of the story. Before it is published or broadcast.
Somewhere in the process of taking the story from the written form of the journalist into the actual newspaper or television final media product, a mistake is made.
Anyways, the mistake is not made by the journalist in writing the story. But by the sub-editor or producer. Perhaps, someone else involved in the production process.
If the error is serious I can ask for a formal apology in the media.
Be that as it may, there are three ways misrepresentation can occur. Some ways on how to avoid them. Being misrepresented in the media is one of the major threats in dealing with the media. People who haven’t had a lot of media experience often get burnt. However, they have a meeting or an interview with a journalist. Perhaps at a coffee shop. They leave the coffee shop they make a throwaway line to the journalist. That throwaway line then becomes the headline of the story; remember that 85 per cent of the impact of a story is in the headline.
When they see that story being published or broadcast by the media, they then get very disappointed. Then again, it just reaffirms their negative image. As well as their negative relationship; fear of the media.
While it is true that media companies provide plenty of perks for their employees; the responsibilities involved goes way beyond than just getting glamoured up. Most standards are working prolonged hours. Just to accomplish a single task. Once you have decided that a media career is what you truly want; go ahead and explore your options. Though, there are many employment opportunities in the tv industry; as well as the media; for you to choose from!