April Awakening: Day Twenty-Six
It was back to the grind for me today. It was fine. I enjoy what I do, thankfully. But I was slightly worried I’d forget what I was doing. Turns out it’s just like riding a news bicycle. Everything went well and everyone was happy to have me back. And I’ve still got it, in regards to my news judgment and what constitutes a story worthy for air.
One producer pitched how companies are allowing women to opt-out of receiving Mother’s Day emails. In this current news cycle of “outrage sells,” we initially painted it as “oh em gee anti-woman once again.” But as I was copy-editing and checking sources, something all good newsfolk should do, I read past the headline and realized there’s actually a compassionate angle to it. What if you had just lost your mother a month prior and don’t want to be reminded of something so fresh? Or God forbid you lost a baby to miscarriage or some other horrible event, and need time to process the raw emotions? I went to my senior producer and said we should nix the story, as we’re going to look like we lack compassion if we try and make it into something it’s not. We made the right call. And as it turns out, companies have been doing this for years, so it was just another nonstory used to drum up clicks, views, and of course, anger. Because it sells, even when it boycotts.
I’ve written about how news is letting me down lately, and even after avoiding it on vacation, it’s still doing it. The same stories are just popping up on my favorite sites, not letting me see what’s really going on. It’s frustrating as I still feel like we’re waiting for that one big headline to connect all the pieces and reveal the man behind the curtain. My dad feels like that too. The first thing he said to me on the phone today was, “What’s the word around the watercooler?” My friend even called last night to ask what was going on with the news lately. Everyone is so desperate for something real, to see the actual story and not be distracted by the faux outrage they keep feeding us. All I can really tell you is I feel it coming too. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I don’t know in what capacity, but we’ve all got our own breaking point. And when you’ve build a foundation on something so disingenuous, something so corrupt and downright evil, it’s bound to crumble eventually.
One headline will do it. And when it does, there will be no time for internet firestorms that mean nothing in the end. The outrage machine has to break down sometime, doesn’t it?