Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Shock of the New(s)

News is shocking. 80% is about trauma. This is why news so often ends with 'cute' stories about scrabble playing dogs or other such nonsense. People finish watching the news and feel alright. If they thought about the rest of the broadcast it would be death/rape/murder/war/ in no particular order. They would probably then want to die from depression.

We Journalists (well I'm on the magazine option so I'm not quite a Journalist, apparently...) come face to face with people in awful situations. We have to walk a line between professional responders and human beings in the wrong place at the wrong (and yet right) time. It's hard to remain focused when things around you feel they are overtaking you, that you are hopeless to help people in peril. But this is what we must do.

The world is an evil, evil, place and it seems the worst kinds of people are winning the war against the minority - a glance at current films being screened shows the type of people that Hollywood knows will be moronic enough to go and see - and as Journalists we have the ability to put into the public domain thoughts, opinions and feelings that can influence people for better or for worse. We have to learn to use this privilege carefully.

When we confront those in shock, in trauma, in pain and suffering, it would be easy to forget all thoughts of professionalism and want to help. But the reporting of an event can have a far greater effect on a much wider scale. Think of Live Aid - all brought about from Michael Buerk's harrowing report from Ethopia.

I don't know if Journalists need to be told they could be affected by what they see, I think the entire human race needs to be told to be ready for a life of misery - when the news is concerned - of evil people carrying out evil deeds on (usually) undeserving victims. This isn't news. This is life.

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