It was one of the main reasons I decided to leave the secular media. I was so very tired of fighting endless battles with producers, news directors, and promotions department managers; staff who rarely left the safety of their offices on any given workday, telling me what the story was before I even walked out the door and into the news van. Toward the end of my nearly 20 years serving as a street reporter and news anchor in Detroit radio and television, this scenario of managers trying to invent a story they thought would surely be a ratings pleaser—before giving the reporter a chance to investigate the location or event chosen for me to cover—had become all too common place. I had to deal with it nearly every day.
What made this approach to the news even more egregious was the stream of promotions written and often aired long before the story was even developed and broadcast. And this was in the late 1990s, long before the Internet and social media took center stage in news coverage and the general dissemination of information!
That’s why the 2021 World Communications Day Statement, “Come and See: Communicating by Encountering People Where and As They Are”, is a must read for anyone (not just Catholics) interested in understanding much of what has gone wrong with the communications industry. It is an industry now dominated by fake news, an over abundance of anonymous sources, and the failure on the part of much of the news media to follow basic principles one is supposed to learn in a freshman journalism class, among other serious issues.
We do not need to be reminded of how many problems have occurred from sensationalism and misinformation in the last few years involving elections, the Church, and of course the continuing coverage of COVID-19. As a Catholic talk show host, I spend a great deal of time both on air and off helping listeners take a closer look at what media they are consuming and to discern fact from fiction. We cannot expect perfection from the media, but we should at least expect accuracy and the willingness to report and not invent stories.
Read more at Catholic World Report