The Brantford Expositor, The Brant News, The Brant Advocate, CKPC, Rogers Cable 20, Power 93.9 and FHTV. My city's media portholes. These are the primary avenues where the public perception of my home city is formed. And I think they do a great job serving the city I love.
I am college educated in broadcasting/journalism. I've worked the majority of my professional life in one area of media or another. Part of me digs it... but right from day 1, a large part of me has also found the culture to be a VERY cut-throat, viscous environment. One that often eschews creativity and grander vision in exchange for habitual, thoughtless ripping & reading... existing solely to propagate sales of things that (cup half full) we don't need or (cup half empty) actually hurt us. But media is a mountain of influence in our city. What the local media does and says about their city not only CAN change the city... but DOES change a city in one direction or another. It matters.
I often hear people say, "I don't like the news. Too depressing. I wish they'd report on the good news." Very few sweeping sentiments drive me more crazy as someone who has read every newspaper I could get my hands on since I was 8.
- You don't "like news?" News is not a genre of fiction. It's what's happening on the earth you live on! It effects you and you should be effecting it!
- Too depressing? The "depressing" news involves human lives being negatively effected by something in our world. Something you might have the solution for. Are we saying that their lives don't count? Sucks to be them... don't burst my little bubble? I certainly hope not.
- As for the good news? Publications have tried to JUST report the "good" news and it's generally uninteresting and unbalanced schlock because it doesn't paint a full picture!
There ARE reasons that many do feel and believe that sweeping statement. There are definite nuggets of truth in it. But it's an incomplete thought without consideration of played-out ramification or solution. Here's why I'm proud of my local media. Because I've found that they both genuinely care about the prosperity of our city AND actively seek out to report on the GOOD that happens in Brantford as well as the bad. And when it's clearly bad... they OFTEN find the good to bring perspective... thus breathing life and hope into a situations that can feel bleak.
A few weeks ago, hundreds of gravestones were toppled by a vandal. Expositor photographer Brian Thompson captured (what I feel is the photograph of the year) City Councillor Jan Vanderstelt in the middle of a herculean act of personally erecting the desecrated stones. The GOOD act of one man, well communicated by our media along with the partnership of passionate social media advocates (who are ALSO making a real difference) spurred a chain reaction of positive response, including businesses like Ingham Monuments volunteering time and resource. The story was not about despair... it became about hope.
Yesterday, Syd Bolton from Brantford's Personal Computer Museum partnered with Sony Canada to give my son "Kid Kindness" a PSP game system just for being a great kid and spurring on kindness in our city. And this morning, this photo was on the FRONT PAGE of the newspaper with this story called "It's good to be Kind"
It was the headline story over the weekend. This blog praising the local Brantford media is not because they put my son on the front page (although it warms a fathers heart and when you encourage a kid it's like breathing destiny into them) it's because in our quest to make Brantford known as the kindest city in Canada... EVERY SINGLE MEDIA OUTLET I've mentioned has JUMPED at the chance to find ways to both ACT kindly and use their influence to spur people in our city onto kindness!
They are actively seeking to report on the stories of local heroism and generosity. They are intentionally honoring and encouraging of those who do. I count many of the local media members as personal friends because of the quality of their character, the depth of their work, and their passion for this city. Not becoming jaded in the media is tough. I know it... I live it.
I want to take this opportunity to thank and honor the local media in Brantford. You help make Brantford the STRONG city it is. Kindness really does breed Kindness and can change a city BY good INTO good. It's a lofty goal but when we each do our part... I think we're beginning to see that it's within our reach.