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Music is good for the soul; CNN is notPosted Wednesday, November 12, 2008, at 9:27 AM
"If it bleeds, it leads." Ever heard that expression?
It's about the way most media chooses the most important stories of the day. It seems the "stupider" the criminal, the more twisted the wreckage, the more violent the abuser, the more extensive the property damage, the more well-known the person involved, the more people hurt or humiliated -- the higher up the story appears on the front page of a newspaper and the closer to the start of a newscast it runs on television.
As a news reporter, I have assignments. I write those stories and I do believe that, as one person who works in the courthouse told me, "People need to know who their neighbors are." I just happen to think that the guy who's been making methamphetamine in his garage has done nothing to deserve a spot on the front page. The officer who nailed him does.
My job is to write the story but I don't get to put it on the page. If it were up to me, all those stories would be in the paper -- on page 10.
Almost every day, someone stops me to tell me they enjoyed my story about some regular, everyday, hard-working person. Or I get a note or e-mail from someone talking about the good old days. I would say nobody has ever stopped me to say they enjoyed the story about the person who was drunk and disorderly, got caught stealing copper or ran from police, but it did happen once -- the one about the theft of meat from a grocery store had a lot of people talking.
In every job, there's always things you like and things you don't like. For me, it bothers me on days when the focus of my writing seems to be on things negative rather than positive. It's just part of the business. As Walter Cronkite would say, "And that's the way it is."
On those days, I am able to do what I do because of two things -- one is a paycheck and the other is the people in Greene County who work in the courthouse, law enforcement and emergency services -- it's their friendly greetings and smiles, their willingness to help me out, their understanding when I make a mistake, and their cooperation that makes the day go well.
In the news out there in the rest of the world, the negativity seems to be getting worse. I thought things would lighten up after the election but the media is still being overly dramatic. Every day there is doom, gloom, some kind of crisis, monumental tragedy and drama -- lots of drama. And fear. Too much of this, too little of that, and always something to fear.
When you watch those newscasts, keep in mind that the drama is driven by profit -- in order to gain more viewers than the competition, it's got to be more sensational.
I hear many local folks say the economy scares them -- despite the outcome of the election, I don't hear people talking about hope.
If you're starting to worry a lot about the state of things and what terrible event or situation is going to befall us all, the best way to get out of the fear, and get into a more hopeful outlook might be to turn the television off, or at the very least, surf away from cable news. The first one I'd turn off would be MSNBC. The next one would be CNN. Put yourself on a diet. And never, ever start your day by watching cable news.
To keep up on essential news, read your local newspaper, maybe watch one half-hour of local evening news and the rest of the day -- turn the radio on and tune in to some oldies but goodies.
Music is good for the soul. CNN is not.
Anna is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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