Category Archives: Freedom Of Speech

Brian’s Blog: Do Blogs Really Matter?

 If you are reading these words, then you are of a belief that blogs matter. I believe they do too. But you and I are but two people in a big world. And maybe we are in the minority.

 We live in such a time right now; when anyone can make themselves well-known (either famous or infamous) based on the words they write and then publish. Blogs can provide a glimpse into someone’s soul: what they believe, what they value, what they cherish.

 But there are so many blogs out there right now. I feel fortunate to have you reading this because I know I have so many “competitors”, so many other writers who have something to say and a forum to say it in. This is my forum and this is what I want to say.

I am at home behind a keyboard. I began typing out short stories on an old typewriter when I was about 8-years-old. I can not imagine a life where I did not regularly sit down and write.

 Why do blogs matter? Because I believe, boiled down, blogs are about human nature. People have a desire to share. People have  a desire to learn and for their minds and hearts to be stimulated. People want to know that someone is there and that someone cares; that someone is paying attention. I think, in a way, blogs do this. Write something in a blog and you are automatically sharing something. And if that something is of value, it makes you think and perhaps you learn something about the world around you. Or maybe you learn something about yourself. And if you write a blog and someone reads it, that shows a level of caring. Even if you never see that reader face to face. Even if you never know who that person is….they took the time to click the link that leads them to your blog and they read your words.

 I write my blog through WordPress. And a part of the blog function allows me to see how many people have found my blog worthy enough to read. And I fortunate in the fact that when I publish something, hundreds of people usually take the time to read it. It is humbling and it is confounding all at the same time.

 Do blogs matter? Yes. Because words matter. And the sentiment behind words matter. If you have ever heard someone say “It’s not what you say but how you say it”, they are only half right. It IS what you say but it’s also how you say it.

 There are wonderful people in this world. Delicate people who may not have the confidence or social skills to get what’s on their mind and in their heart…off their chest. They may feel uncomfortable in a public setting. They may feel uncomfortable in actually saying something they believe out loud. They may feel they don’t really have a voice.

 I have a voice. I don’t know if it ever says anything of value, but I hope it does. And sometimes, that voices comes out through my fingers when I type on a keyboard to form my blogs.

 Words matter. Thoughts matter. 

 And please don’t ever make the mistake in thinking that blogs need to be cold hard facts or an outlet for opinion. While both have their place, I would implore you to never, ever turn your back on emotion. Too many people pay too much attention to their brain and not enough attention to their heart. The best emotions in life are based in your heart: consideration, compassion, understanding and love. This world would be a better place if those ideals were adhered to more.

 Words matter. My words. Your words. The words of others. It can be overwhelming and it can seem like when you add it all up it just adds to the noise of the world. Maybe it does. But a quiet world would be boring.

Why Are People So Quick To Judge And Condemn?

One of the truly annoying things you encounter in broadcast news is the immediate judgement and “wrath” of your viewers. Tonight, I had such an issue come up and it made me wonder why people simply can’t be more tolerant of other people’s ideas and beliefs.

We ran a story on our 10PM newscast tonight (which went on LATE thanks to the BCS championship game) about a Sioux Falls chiropractor who advertises that he can prevent you from catching the flu through chiropractic treatment. An interesting story and an interesting idea. One which flies in the face on conventional wisdom and some would argue common sense (Both sons got the H1N1 vaccine. I was suppose to get it but was called in to produce the day I was going to go).

No where in the story did we say “this is the gospel” or “you should be doing this”. We simply presented the story of what one chiropractor is claiming he can do to prevent you from getting the flu. Here’s a link to the story if you would like to see it for yourself.

Well we get off the air and no sooner are we all back in the newsroom preparing to go home than an e-mail comes in to our “you ask” viewer comment box. It’s someone who said something like the following; “I can believe you ran that cockamamie story about the chiropractor. I will now question every story you broadcast.”

You have got to be kidding me. We run an interesting (and I would argue compelling) story about what a local chiropractor believes his treatment can do and this guy begins reading us the riot act? I know part of me should actually be pleased because we put something on the air that got people thinking and talking and involved. But to say “I will now question every story you broadcast” simply because we presented someone’s point of view that may be a little outside the box? It is just disappointing to hear. If you think the chiropractor is nuts, so be it. But don’t begrudge us for finding an interesting, local story about an issue people have an interest in. It’s almost like hearing a viewer say “How dare you bring me something interesting tonight!’.

Isn’t part of journalism supposed to a vetting of society’s beliefs? Isn’t part of the job of a journalist to bring differing points of view to the table and essentially say to the viewer “How about this?”

To me, what makes life interesting in hearing from all different points of view. Covering stories where people would essentially be preaching to the choir….well what’s the point? “I like it!” “Well so do I!” “Great!”.

What gets attention is focusing on what makes people different and that should boil down to their ideas and beliefs. Pass judgement on those if you wish, but don’t kill the messenger for doing their job of finding an interesting message.

I was thinking about this on the way home and it really bothers me. It’s akin to the politicians who say journalists are out to get them because they are asking tough questions. No, politicians are public servants and if they want the power that democracy affords them, then they should have to answer tough questions about policy and not play the artful dodger and try to make the media an enemy….simply because the politician doesn’t want to be pinned down on a specific issue. It’s a chicken move and I lose all respect for politicians who try to play that card.

In closing, ultimately in a democracy, this guy has every right to say he will question future stories based on this one story. It is his right and he should be able to exercise it. The flip side of that is the Constitution protects a journalist’s rights to tell a story. And in a Democracy, voices have a right to be heard: even those who believe a spine alignment can prevent you from getting sick with the flu.