Sarah Dilts, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2016 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: “Journalists in the United States can publish stories on nearly anything that warrants coverage and this gives readers the opportunity to find information on any topic from every angle. However, sometimes the most important issues are overshadowed by less important information (think trending cat videos on YouTube). What is one topic that the media should give more emphasis?”
“Breaking News: Kim Kardashian walked across the street yesterday” and the crowd goes wild. Sometimes mainstream media can be quite discouraging with the topics that are emphasized. With so many different channels of content, there is truly something for everyone.
News media primarily focuses on politics and on crime. Depending on your station of choice, you will always be presented current news with a certain twist from the prospective of the journalist or reporter. We are able to find and discover current events through TV and online searching. One reason I believe this is the main source of media content is because the American people like to stay current, but drama always sells. My idea for a new media emphasis is to showcase highlights of humanity, show the good stuff!
Some might respond to this and say this emphasis would not depict our reality while not everything can be perfect. To that I will answer that I agree that we need to face the negative news, however, in my opinion, there needs to be equal emphasis on positive works of the American people. What would this include? Goods deeds done by fellow citizens. Showcase charity work, positive deeds, etc. These highlights would not just be limited to volunteer work, but also breakthroughs in science, art and technology. Report on new inventions created and show the individual’s story. Let our people inspire people!
If people are presented with the news but also are being exposed to positivity through their fellow Americans’ deeds, this could result in progression for our nation. I know when I see something positive in the news, I find it so refreshing and inspiring. Personally, I can only watch the news for a certain amount of time because I find subjects too gloomy and become drained. I aim to stay informed but can only take so much of the mainstream media. This can be balanced out with the highlights of humanity.
There are psychology reports and even TED talks that say you are what TV shows you watch. I am a firm believer that consuming and viewing is affecting us mentally. If we shows that humanity can be good, think about what good could come as a result.
Show the good and get good results. We must face reality but also have faith in humanity.
Sarah is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.