Power to News Media, Empowerment to the Public
The mere act of conversation is enormously powerful, which is why the news media wields such influence in our society.
A conversation, one conversation, may turn out to be the catalyst behind what we do, what we think, who we connect with and even, who we love. No matter how technology advances, or how many bells and whistles a news outlet may add to its arsenal, the heart of all news is simply the conversations it delivers to us. And that is why the best storytellers have always been at the top of the food chain in the news business.
Statistically speaking, there is hard evidence that justifies why, exactly, storytelling is so seductive: A simple, spoken conversation incorporates all forms of learning — visual via word choice, auditory derived from the speaker’s tone, and kinesthetic from the emotions the words evoke — making it the original open platform technology.
Such power is also the reason why there’s an ongoing love-hate relationship with the news media. Let’s ever-so-neatly boil it down to two things: the questions that are asked, and the words that are chosen to tell someone’s story. When you think about it, telling someone’s story is an honor, and with that, comes enormous responsibility. (Probably the most egregious work done by the news media occurs in the least likely place: Obituary headlines, where a person’s entire existence is summed up and overwhelmingly negated in about 60 characters. “John Q. Public, Loved to Fish.” “Mary Smith, Beloved for her Pies.”)
With so much focus on the storytellers, what is wrongfully overlooked is the empowerment an individual experiences from having his or her story told. That empowerment stems from sharing and then, the feeling of connection. It’s what builds a sense of community and establishes common ground.
The star in the storytelling process is honesty, not title or achievement. And that’s why news, at its best, is a tapestry of thoughts, feelings, and ideas that presents us with all aspects of the human condition. What we do, what we think, who we connect with, and yes, even who we love. It’s all in there. And it all begins with a conversation.