Media today PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:57

REFLECTION

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we now have easy access to many things, among them, newspapers and magazines. We don’t have to subscribe to local and foreign papers to be able to read them.

With this exposure, I’m certain we are also forming many views and opinions, and we slowly discern the various underpinnings, political, ideological, religious, and otherwise, that the media outfits have.

I personally find it very interesting to compare opinions, styles, approaches, and see how they play out. There’s thrill always in observing the flashes of genius as different writers argue and often clash.

Also I want to fish, even if only tentatively, the different trends and biases the different papers can have. These considerations always shed some light that makes things more understandable.

Almost automatically, several categories emerge in the mind as I instinctively try to sort out, classify, brand and label the different positions. Among these categories are the conservative/liberal, right/left, open-minded/close-minded, serious/commercialized.

With all these developments, we need to pay more attention to what is fundamentally important to those involved in the media. What is clear is that everyone in the media, just like everybody else, should realize very sharply our need for continuing formation.

This need cannot be set aside, much less, alienated. This is the lifeblood of our profession, as it is in any other profession.

Anyone who marginalizes the need for formation in his work is doomed to stagnate, if not fail miserably.

And formation should not just be some vague and generic term. It should strike us as something urgent, and with many concrete elements that need to be attended to.

For example, people in media should know how to attain greater independence and gain better objectivity, how to adapt to a fast-changing world driven by technologies that develop quite speedily these days, etc.

These are some concerns that need to be looked into if we in the media wish to really serve the people and contribute to the common good.

We have to be sensitive to subtle tricks, personal, social and cultural, that can warp the integrity of our profession. These tricks are a constant threat. We cannot be naïve.

It would be good if we could have an inventory of biases and other conditionings that can affect our work. Some of them are unavoidable, but at least if we are aware of them, we can do something about them.

We have to be wary that unless we simply content ourselves to cater only to the ignorant and the impressionable, we need to improve our competence to satisfy the legitimate expectations of a more demanding and discerning audience.

But before we start thinking of what new style and techniques to learn to attain this goal, we have to remember one basic, indispensable requirement, one that needs continuing renewal and purification, given the condition of our life and work.

This requirement hopefully will give us a firm grounding, a sound sense of perspective, a clear focus and sense of purpose. It’s the understanding that our media work is not just our work but rather is part of the divine redemptive plan for all mankind. We have to attune our work to that context.

This is our usual problem. Many of us still have the

primitive pagan notion that the business of communication is purely a

human affair, so completely personal, private or autonomous that God has nothing to do with it.

Or at best, that it is just a social phenomenon, ruled purely by some social consensus, with God and his commandments playing no more than a cameo role.

Of course, with this attitude we become most vulnerable to all sorts of pressures and temptations that certainly distort thestandard of justice and fair play, of freedom and truth, etc.

Unaware of the divine character and redemptive mission of our work, we can tend to go in circles, stuck in the mud of wranglings, self-righteousness and useless speculations or worse, prone to the tailspin of frivolity, greed and inanities.

This does not mean that media work should be some kind of sacred, rigid and monolithic business. It can go mundane. It can and should respect the legitimate plurality of opinions proper of ourautonomous earthly affairs.

But when there is this awareness of the divine character of our work, then the search for justice, freedom and truth can be pursued hindered less by our tendencies to be shallow in thinking, rash in judgment, rough in manners.

Even when there are conflicting views, there will always be charity in the discussions. Even when we are having fun, we don’t forget God. This is our media challenge.