Posted by: wanqingluo | July 6, 2009

Accomplishing “Doing Well and Doing Well”

It’s not been the first time that the topic of “doing well and doing good” came up to me since I started my college a year ago. Actually, I was taking a policy studies class by Professor Coplin at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. And we spent a whole semester looking into practical ways that individuals can best fulfill their good citizenship.
From the previous experience, I have at least realized that how much profound the idea of both “doing well and doing good” entails, as well as challenging obstacles individuals have to constantly overcome so as to achieve it.
However, the approaches for media to “doing well and doing good”, which I will talk about this time, have turned out to take heavier and longer steps, although as far as I am concerned, doing well and doing good weigh equally important both for individual citizens and for today’s media. Then what happened to making heavier and longer steps during the development of the media and how these factors integrate their ideologies into the formation of the news that we see everyday?
First of all, it is the governmental power over the press. Among the seven ways from which media help democracy, (the slides, on July 1) there was “Information—informing the public”, not to mention “information” is also a universal function media are supposed to serve. However, the actions of the press to inform would usually encounter barriers imposed by the government whenever referred to as inappropriate. The video posted right before our last Wednesday’s class regarding the White House Corps is an impressive example. After lots of “I’m just not goanna to answer that question” directly from the mouths of “generations” of The White House Press Secretary, I could not help paying attention to the heavy burdens placed in front of the road to the proclaimed “real openness and transparency” inside the government. The government seems to have volunteered to set the boundaries of what should be covered in corresponds with its own interests. As a result, plenty of questions asked out by people, like Helen Thomas, representing the mainstream simply bounced off. While the government may have managed to maintained its ideology of doing well by protecting certain information from going to the public, at the same time, it may not have overlooked democracy, neither is “doing good”.
The second of all is the interests-driven point of view shared by the press body itself. In the book of “Graber”, the development of media has standardized pattern of competition of a certain press based on its financial status. As we have learnt, important “hard news” always relied a great deal within dominant organizations such as The Associated Press unless other press organizations pay to get big news. Competition forces “doing good” to stay on hold, while a lot of media are trying to achieve “doing well” get their business going. In addition to less financially strong factor, the interest also comes from the viewers. “Infotainment” coverage has never reached such a high popularity ever as it does today. The prosperity of entertainment industry like movies, music and fashion distracts people especially young people from keeping track of traditional “hard news” by all those fancy illusions. What’s worse, “soft news” which refers to anything that is not “hard” (breaking news involving top officials, significant disruptions in the routines of daily life—from the slides, on July 1) are taking extremes overtime. We can simply take a glimpse of the recent mass coverage of Pop star Michael Jackson’s death, the media just went to cover about the necessary stories and went beyond to touch the unnecessary. A lot of criticisms arouse several days afterward regarding the misleading role of the press over this event. What did the media generally miss during the overloads of news of MJ? The show below also discussed this issue–http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/04/AR2009070402024.html
The way we should better take to treasure is the essence of MJ, which is exactly his music and the styles he had inspired among a couple of generations, and leaving everything else irrelevant off the spotlight. Thus there might have been more room for people like the fallen American soldier mentioned in the video above who sacrificed in war for the country, which happened on the same day MJ died. This is what I concern of a form of both “doing well and doing good” by the media.

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