Friday, September 30, 2005

How Can We Protect Ourselves?

These are the ground rules: the job of the mass media is to create profits. In order to be able to do that as effectively as possible, they need the largest possible audiences. To create large audiences the media must give audiences what they want.

The need to know what is "really" going on in the world never goes away. So, what must we do in order to find out what is going on in the world so that we can make the best possible decisions.

We must first be aware that media no longer feels the responsibility to provide their audiences with what they need to know. Their responsibility is to assure their owners that they will get a return on their investment.

Each of us must setup our own system to determine what is really going on in the world. Then we must learn and act on what we learn. But, there aren't very many ways you can inform yourself quickly and easily. Here are some ways you can begin to inform yourself.

1. Use the internet. There's a wide range of excellent sources available to choose from and as you search you will be able to add to the list of sources you find.

2. Read widely and regularly. Don't decide what your position is or should be, but instead, decide that you need to know as miuch as possible about "reality" and follow the data where ever it leads.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Now, Where Were We?

(Back in the office now. Now is the time to get back into the discussion of the various elements that make up our lives through communication. Our focus will be on what we can do to improve our communicaitons and through them our lives. While we're improving our lives, we must always keep an eye on what is happening to others. That way, we build a world through communications that not only we want to live in, but others can join us.)

Over the past few weeks it has become increasingly apparent that the information that we use to make decisions that are going to affect us and those we love, isn't always clear or accurate. In fact, there's a fairly large group of people whose sole task is to make us feel good about what they want us to do or think. Our job then is to be certain that we come as close as possible to "reality" so that the decision we make get us closer to our goals, rather than closer to somebody else's goals.

Newspaper less than radio and TV, make their living primarily by acquiring huge readership or listenership. The larger the number, the more you can charge for your product. That means, right out of the blocks we have to protect ourselves from thinking that what we see, hear and read are the heart and soul of news or public affairs. That would be foolish. These folk have to produce large audiences or they're looking for work. That, put simply, means that they will give you what they think you want.

It's true that once in a while, some news gets through because it can't be hidden. That tends to shake the confidence of many of us because we didn't like what we saw. Take the governmental reaction to Hurricane Katrina. Most Americans didn't like what they saw. Even the President of the United States didn't like what he saw. Many Americans had been lulled into a feeling that most conditions are reasonably safe where we live. After the hurricane, many of us had questions.

Why hadn't that sort of thing been discussed in all news agencies before? Why does it take a disaster to show us where we really stand? Now, what are some of the other areas that should be concern to us now? Do we know? Have we thought about it? Where are we getting our information and how reliable is it?

Our concern is not only how skillful and careful we can be when communicating, but what we are communicating and to whom. I really don't want a bunch of highly skilled commnicators running around our communities that really don't have anything to say. Communication has to involve not only those communication skills, but careful thought.