February 26, 2011
Sensationalism in the Media: Is it helpful or harmful?
Daily, we are bombarded with news on current trends, foreign affairs, personal triumphs and tragedies. As it relates to the media, these professionals live by the credo that they are delivering the news in a fair and impartial manner: They gather and share the information they have discovered in order to help their communities learn about current events and perhaps even save lives via “breaking news” updates. As the years have gone by, however, it seems to me that reporters are using verbiage that tends to add excitement to their stories. This, often times, is good for ratings, but is it actually beneficial for the good of the community?
Let’s look at the manner in which the news media reported the recent storms in Northern California. For several days leading up to the storm’s arrival, the Sacramento area meteorologists advised the public of the impending storm, the predicted rain and snowfall accumulations and the anticipated weather-related power outages. The information was delivered as a service so the community could take preventative measures to protect themselves and their property as well as evaluate their upcoming travel plans.
I shook my head in amazement as I watched reporter after reporter speak of the “treacherous” conditions at Blue Canyon with a faster, more emotional cadence than normal. Although it was likely meant with the best of intentions, the reporters urged motorists to stay home and not venture up to the mountains. Was this really necessary? The storm did not deliver the knock out punch that they expected for nearly 24-hours after the initial report was made. As a result, area businesses that rely on winter travelers potentially suffered some economic losses. The next day, the snowfall became heavier and mixed with gusty winds. At this time, their suggestions to stay home were actually a good idea.
Here is my concern. If the media cries wolf too soon and too many times, will travelers start to ignore their words of caution and actually place themselves in harm’s way? Motorists may think, “Well, they said it was treacherous last time and the roads were fine. It can’t be that bad. Let’s go.” Then, the next thing we hear about is the reports of motorists who have spun-out, the chain-reaction collisions, and the horrendous line of traffic sitting at a stand still due to the poor roadway conditions.
Just once, when the weather is not truly “treacherous,” I’d like to see a sensible news report simply stating the facts. So what is your opinion. Are reporters over-sensationalizing news stories? If they are, do you feel it is beneficial to the community, potentially harmful or not concerning. Please weigh in on the topic and let’s see where people stand.
February 25, 2011
I’ve been blogged upon!
My nephew Jon wrote a short blog about me. Check it out at www.jonsestores.wordpress.com. To keep abreast of the exciting upcoming news, be sure to subscribe to both of our blogs.
Until next time,
February 25, 2011
Isn’t it ironic how cold, crisp, snowy winter nights like tonight warms a soul?
There just seems to be something about the freshness of the air that invigorates me. Is it the excitement of knowing that tomorrow I will be running around the neighborhood on my quad plowing driveways? Is it the joy I get watching my two goofy dogs pounce through the snow and play fight like baby polar bears? It is catching big, fat snowflakes on my tongue? I don’t really know the answer but I can say one thing for sure. It brings out the kid in me. I can’t imagine ever living in a no-snow area. Mountain living is definitely where it is!
So what should one do on a chilly winter night? Try cuddling up to your favorite person while watching the snow gently drift to the ground. Better yet, add a few dogs by your feet and a nice cup of my HO-HO Holiday Hot Chocolate. It’s so satisfying, rich, smooth and delicious. Made with real chocolate, it is sure to win everyone over. And, for that special adult touch, add a floater of Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, or your favorite spirit. Me, on the other hand, I’ll stick to the traditional floater—marshmallows!
Enjoy the winter weather while its here. Like Karen missed Frosty when Professor Hinkles (the bad villian magician) locked him in the greenhouse, you will miss the snow when it’s gone.