Writer’s Block: Informing is caring

With the upcoming election and the recent tragedy in Colorado, the reaction of many may be to simply tune all news out, whether on the TV, the Internet or in print.

Bethany Kemming
Bethany Kemming

“It’s too depressing,” “It’s too scary” and “It leaves me wondering if my kids have any future” are all phrases I’ve heard before.

Many college students my age hardly pay attention to the news, and when they do it’s because of a tragedy like the theater shooting. They reason that facing the news of the real world is too hard and tune out all news entirely.

Even everyday national news leaves many wondering about the relevance of what a politician said or wearied over repeatedly hearing how bad the economy is.

I’ve wondered if I would react the same way were I not involved in the news business.

I’m thankful for my experience working in the news, because it’s taught me how relevant and essential being informed is. Ignorance may be bliss for one person, but it doesn’t change anything in the larger picture.

Aldous Huxley said in an essay, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” and this is an accurate description of our reaction to the news.

As far as current events are concerned, I would argue that ignorance is dangerous.

Sure, ignorance can cause us to make outlandish statements in public or at parties that we’ll regret. It can cause us to vote one way and regret our decision in the future.

Harm to our self-image may be the result, but more importantly ignorance is disarming.

It rids us of our ability to act decisively to change the chaos or contribute to the good.

I’ll admit I prefer radio news or print and have a small aversion towards television news, but over the years I’ve learned how much impact a single story, no matter what the medium, can have.

The reaction of those getting the news may be disinterest, anger or fear, but many positive reactions happen as well.

Community members make donations towards a good cause, hear about programs they’d like to join and send their kids to good camps.

Each story in the local news can have as much of a positive impact as the larger national stories.

I often hear about a family or individual that was helped financially or provided with a car because others had heard their story on the news.

If we ignored the story in Aurora, how could we be thinking and praying for those people?

What sort of message would our disinterested ignorance give?

If we didn’t ignore the Colorado story, what about other stories we’ve tuned out because we don’t care?

Each story in the news has a group of people behind it that are affected by a decision or event, positive or negative.

Intentional ignorance towards these stories is frankly far from Minnesota nice.

No, we can’t read every story around the world. There is a limit to the amount of negativity we can handle, even for reporters.

A guest speaker at my college once made a comment about how those in the news love big tragedies. This isn’t true.

Reporters don’t love tragedies anymore than anyone else does.

Sure, it may make their job a bit more fast-paced, but I can almost guarantee those reporters taking in the tragedy day after day will be more affected by it than those watching the 60-second clip.

The facts in the news may not change but our actions can. As the news brings the positive and negative to light, we can stay informed as a way of taking action.

We can stay informed for the faces behind every story, especially those in Colorado. Keep Aurora in your thoughts and prayers.