Panelists with decades of experience in northeast Ohio’s print and television news industries came together on June 8th at the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Media, Leadership and Change event to share their sense of responsibility toward the city’s future and insights on the evolution of journalism. We are quick to blame the media for sensationalist headlines and inflammatory coverage of issues – but here in Cleveland, there are journalists (and reporters and editors and presidents of news stations) who are truly committed to being a part of the solution when it comes to issues of social justice.
As a social worker and a news “flunkie” for many years – it was refreshing and uplifting to learn that my children’s school levy passed (against all odds) because a local news station decided they needed to put all their resources behind making it happen. That’s not a flashy news story or one that anyone would easily believe coming from the people who made it happen – but it’s one that needs to be told.
We exist in a time where sound bites and social media tidbits guide our view of the world – a frightening prospect to consider when there are SO MANY complex problems that need solved. Real change, real communication, real solutions have to take place on a deeper level and require a much broader perspective. Meaningful change comes from human connections, shared experiences and partnerships between the average citizen and professional resources – not from infographics, memes and GIF images.
I loved hearing Margaret Bernstein proudly announce her title as “Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives” at WKYC while espousing a passion for literacy and multi-system collaboration. She doesn’t just want to put books in the hands of kids, she wants to engage disenfranchised parents and support the programs geared toward overcoming barriers to at-home reading – and the station has given her the resources and capacity to do just that.
One of my goals with our website and newsletter is to include a “Call to Action” with every featured post, offering simple steps and suggestions anyone can take to support people and organizations who are committed to social good in northeast Ohio. I was honored to meet and share ideas with a room full of men and women who fall into that category, and today I’m inspired to ask my favorite question of all time:
Here are few suggestions, based on the lively discussions at last night’s Media, Leadership and Change event:
- Pay attention to how news makes you feel and be wary of the self-selection that occurs when you avoid traditional media sources that offer a variety of views and perspectives.
- Buy the newspaper. Heck, open a newspaper when you see one at the coffee shop.
- Rely on the morning and evening news for your sports scores and daily forecast.
- Tell the media your side of the story if you think they’ve lost touch with an issue – it might surprise you to know they really want to hear it!
- Tune into and support public radio. Ideastream is an amazing source of information and inspiration in northeast Ohio.
- Seek out, follow and interact with authentic journalists who have a history of advocacy on issues that are important to you.
- Like/follow/share the articles written by seasoned, ethical reporters to help raise their voices above the sea of flashy, shallow content we are inundated with on a daily basis.
Do you make time for “real news” that challenges how you think and helps you grow? Who is your favorite “good cause crusader” in the local media you want us to follow and support here at The Good Cause Blog?