After working as a photojournalist for 4 years for a paper that reached nearly 35,000 people on a daily basis, my love for the newspaper and all news media died. Off assignment, I would spend hours sitting by a police scanner, waiting for a deadly car accident, a house fire, a business robbery, anything that would constitute for an ‘exciting’ news feature. If a day went by without some kind of tragedy, it was slow and the supplemental photographs taken to fill in the feature news spots were usually seen by the editors as less exciting than those depicting what I could only think of as calamity. Nonetheless I thrived on the stories that were dangerous, and apparently so did the public. With every day and every story that had some sort of negative note, following a murder trial, covering crooked politics, and going trigger-happy over deathly incidents, I found myself becoming uncomfortably desensitized to emotion. While I did cover my fair share of “happier” news features, county fairs, concerts, local charity events, the stories that I always heard people talk about were those of a ruinous nature. No one ever really remembers or cares about the kid who raised 20,000 dollars for a charity event helping autistic children when people died in a shoot out down the street. Unfortunately it seems like we thrive on tragedy and useless celebrity gossip.
Though many complain about the negative nature of the news and throw out the old saying “no news is good news,” these same people are often the ones who still purchase or support in some form (via the internet) their local newspapers. This readership, though riddled with complaints, is what keeps these stories alive and splashed across the front page of every section. Though some of it is viable news, and there are a few quaint stories of hope, the majority of the news, be it on TV, the Internet, or in the newspaper is rarely indicative of anything good going on in our world.
Following the Yes Men Fix The World Teaching guide, I will be completing a variation of the News Paper Activity. My action plan is to re-appropriate 3 stories from both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune so that they read the way that I feel an “ideal” version of the story should be. I will be making 2 separate blogs to post these stories and will also bring in the actual copies of the stories from both newspapers as well as a print out of the blog postings. These blog postings are meant to be a humorous poke at issues within these stories and try to focus on the injustice and sometimes nonsensical actions taken by governmental and corporate institutions that are presented to us in our daily news.