The Dispatch

The role of media is challenged in the wake of an American tragedy

Photo by: Avy Friedman

Marisa Salazar, Staff Writer

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An essential role in the delivery of information on violence resides in the news media, where people expect trustworthy content. Recently, there has been an increase in biased news outlets misleading the public on tragic acts of violence. Competition in media companies has led to tragedy becoming popularized in news and emphasized as commonplace in society.

Media is the most accessible and widespread source for news on current events in our country, we have no choice but to depend on it to provide truthful information. However, as the digital age expands the ability for anyone to fabricate information and present it as fact has become easier, leading to widespread misinformation.

The aftermath of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has generated an idea that tragedies are orchestrated with crisis actors to generate support for the ideologies of certain political parties. This idea only effectively works to dismiss and subvert the change students are trying to make in wake of a disheartening situation.

Not only is derogatory information surrounding tragedies harmful for the general public relying on news as a trustworthy source, but discouraging to those directly impacted by the trauma and belittling to their plight.

Outsiders who cannot fathom the pain that victims of violence go through often disregard their turmoil as fake. This makes those who speak out through media sources eager to hear their perspective, courageous as they are vulnerable to the backlash that could potentially follow.

Despite the inadequacies, media has proven to be a useful platform for change regarding violence affecting people throughout the country.

The opportunity to voice strong opinions through media has proven to not only be effective but groundbreaking in social and political movements. National change is no longer simply in the hands of politicians but in citizens who are tired of inaction and want to see a difference being made.

With victims speaking out on issues that have personally impacted them, everyday citizens are inspired to take a stand for what they believe should change, giving the public opportunity to protest. Resurfacing as a major demonstration of outcry in America, media has reported and focused on protests which furthers the publicity for the desired changes.

With a noticeable growth in media coverage of violence, domestic and global tragedy has sadly become a norm in our lives. When we watch the news or scroll through our Twitter feeds, violence seems to not go away.

Nevertheless, it’s reassuring that there are those who feel prompted to draw emotion from what they are presented through media and constructively use it to make a difference to better our country.

Community focused social and political issues are now being presented to us in  surplus and with outcry from those affected or moved to protest change is possible. Last year, the battle against racial profiling and police brutality dominated the news and through rallying, it is now common for officers to wear body cameras while working.

This is a turning point in modern public involvement on reforms in response to events that directly affect the American people.

Media outlets have an important job when tackling present day violence. That is avoiding spectacle to provide unbiased and respectful news to the public during and in the aftermath of tragedy.

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The role of media is challenged in the wake of an American tragedy