Friday, August 19, 2016

Media: Share the Good News!

Last night a quiet teacher friend of mine from a school system that sometimes gets bad press from the media came over for dinner. She showed me picture after picture of her students and projects she's done. Her work was amazing and the students were so happy and enthusiastic. I said to her, the local newspaper should place one of these pictures on the front page every day.

Instead when we looked at popular media threads yesterday we saw the picture of an obviously ill teacher who arrived to school in a worrisome way. Instead of being informative, the media played the role of "freak show" as they demeaned the sadly ill educator. That's the message about schools and teachers that overwhelmed the press yesterday. Meanwhile, educators, like my friend, have already devoted considerable time this summer to shop for supplies and set up colorful, welcoming classrooms. Everyday she goes to school and orchestrates the wonderful, new age learning that she shared with me. And her students who represent a vast multitude of cultures shared the common feature of wearing big smiles as they tested catapults, watched chemical reactions blow up balloons, share culture stories, and investigate national parks. Super projects, terrific teaching.

Of course some media outlets are responsible. They take their role of information share seriously, and rather than stoke the fire of craziness and disrespect, they tell the true stories of what's going on in our country--information we need to hear. But other media resources, solely try to sell time or space to make a profit, and use sensational stories to do that.

Our communities will profit from dedicated, sensitive media that tells the truth, but doesn't play on the foibles and sad acts of the mentally ill, addicted, and troubled individuals. Yes, it's important for public safety to be aware of bad acts and actors, but it's also important to tell about all the good news out there--the kinds of stories my friend shared with me last night, stories that have the potential to inspire a whole community towards greater good and result.