During a recent County Council meeting, I had the pleasure of photographing a young woman who was recognized for her accomplishments. She is one of many current high school graduates who have made significant contributions to our county and inspired others to do the same. However, the special moment was somewhat deflated (for me) when someone made a remark about how the media treats such topics.
He stated that oftentimes negative things going on with local students may cloud the many accomplishments by others and when the opportunity arises, they should be recognized - with front page exposure. While I certainly understand his wish to see the student on the front page, I came away with the feeling that was not entirely his point.
I can not speak for other media but I can say The News does not devote the majority of its front page to "bad" events. Indeed, the front page of The News has had its share of unsavory topics - but if scrutinized over a period of time, the assumption is easily debunked. In fact, on the day the remark was made his local newspaper had not one but two "positive" school related stories - on the front page.
This erroneous perception is not an isolated one, and depending on one's personal beliefs, a front page will be characterized as either good, bad or ugly. I have to smile when someone verbally thrashes me for filling the front page with "pretty pictures" while another fusses at me for having "mug shots" take up valuable space - for what otherwise should be reserved for "pretty pictures". Sometimes you can't win for losing.
I invite the gentleman or anyone else to visit our office and view the back-issues of The News. Our bound copies date back to 1972. Maybe after checking out a few dozen issues any impression that our local newspaper preys on the bad while ignoring the good will change.
As for elevating our young ones when they work hard and achieve, I whole heartedly agree with the gentleman. It is a pleasure to publish articles devoted to a child's accomplishments, which, by the way are often provided through the efforts of the district.
However, bad things happen too and when they do it is the responsibility of the media to report it. I can only imagine the consequence if the media chose to ignore the bad and focus strictly on the good. Would we rather look at our world through rose colored glasses? I would hope not.