Captains Corner: What the Media Means to Me

Sometimes, I like to poke a sleeping bear with a stick. That is a metaphor. I would never, ever, actually do that. I have no desire to ever be within arms reach of an actual bear with actual teeth.

But I use this metaphor because I am not always satisfied with the status quo, and I am not always satisfied with things trundling along at their own pace. I also get really bored sometimes. I have written inflammatory statements, sometimes just because I can.

I sometimes feel like very few people actually read the Navigator, which is incredibly distressing to me, not because of my own work but because of the work of my staff. I watch them spend hours on stories, writing, editing and designing, and I don’t see as many people pick up the paper as I would like to.

It gives me a great sense of joy when I walk past a table and see someone perusing the crime-log (a personal favorite of mine) or completing the crossword (something I have personally never done.)

It is also strangely fulfilling to see a Navigator discarded in the trash, because that means that it had to at least have been picked up, which is a minor victory. Unless of course someone specifically moved the paper into the trash without looking at it, but that would just be a waste of everyone’s time.

What I mean to say is, this paper is important to me but not just for my own ego. It’s important to me because of what media in general means to me.

It isn’t what we know, think, or do that defines us; it is a combination of all three. From radio to television, from print newspapers to online news outlets, from professional institutions to stay-at-home mom’s blogging new recipes, our world is one of constant-and ever-multiplying new content.  Every day more information than has ever existed is created, destroyed, and remade in someone else’s image. This is the media that we now know.

These days, people may go to a trusted friend’s news blog over their local papers to get their information. Sadly, many of the younger generation don’t go looking for news at all, but instead focus on the entertainment aspect of the media.

As the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper, and an aspiring law student, I think that it is the media’s job to find new ways to capture peoples attention, to pass along information and to make sure the population has the knowledge they need to be informed citizens capable of making a difference.

It is not going to be the child that goes home to sit on the couch and watches “Teen Mom” before bed that changes the world. It is going to be the student who constantly refreshes their favorite news web site, looking for the latest development in Congress.

We can’t ignore the fact that more and more people these days choose ignorance over information, laughing over learning, and entertainment over intelligence. As a member of both the general population and the media, I can see the growing disconnect between the news outlets and their audience.

That is why I believe it is so important for young people to get involved. That is why I have worked for my schools broadcast news, for our radio station, and for our print publication.

The media is so important to our society that it has been called the 4th branch of government. Without the media, we would be far worse off, not only in terms of access to information, but also access to entertainment. Despite the low standards that I believe many outlets use in choosing their shows, I believe that a lot of good things that can come from television shows.

To me, the media is not a mark of a privileged society, but instead one of the rightful cornerstones of a civilized one. Everybody has the right to have access to knowledge, and everybody has the right to enjoy a free and open media, lightly regulated for the good of the people, but still protected by our constitutional freedoms.

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