Getting the Whole Story
Again, we want to look at the whole story. If a situation is only being portraying from one perspective, there is still missing information to take into consideration.
Should you Believe Everything You Read and See?
One example where this occurs is in the media. The media is overwhelmingly controlled by only a few companies. So what we see is a direct reflection of what they choose for us to see. The content is shaped by the company’s views (which may be one sided) or skewed in a way that will benefit the company or promote a particular narrative, lifestyle, or fantasy. These biases portrayed in the media can lead to misrepresentation and disempowerment.
Who Controls the U.S Media?
If the media is controlled by such a small representation of people, the question becomes what does the media choose to show and what do they not show? Why? Don’t we want to hear the perspectives and voices from people other than just a few companies?
Take into Consideration...
- Messages are constructed (with unique language – light, sound, etc.) with a purpose and a point of view.
- Media you see often isn’t real or true – it is crafted to tell stories, create images, or sell a fantasy or a lifestyle
- “Reality” TV isn’t “the whole truth” but one side to show the audience their bias or point of view
- People experience the same media differently
Question the Meaning and Stories
As you look at how things are portrayed through the media, you can begin to consider and question the meaning and stories behind it by asking yourself:
- What were central themes?
- What was the tension, source of conflict or drama?
- How was the solution framed?
- How did the piece transform you?
- Who created this message? Why was it sent?
- How might others understand this message differently from me?
- What lifestyles, values & points of view are represented or omitted?
- What techniques are used to attract my attention?
- What was the audio and visual script?
- What was needed to get this raw material and bring it together in this way?
- Whose permission would have to be obtained to produce this piece - and what would this process of seeking permission entail?
- What were the differences between what I saw and what I heard?
Teens in the Media
Often local news media portrays teens from a limited/one-sided point of view – that skews the truth:
- “Latest School Shooting Has Professionals Wondering Which Young Person Might Lash Out Next” – Morning Star 3/10/01
- “Teens Apathetic About School Shootings, Violence” – Jupier Courier, 5/2/01
- “Boy Faces Jail Term for Shooting Neighbor: Teen Violence Growing Concern” – Washington Post, 7/13/03
Of course, you might see a different, more positive version of young people, that maybe isn’t always as highly covered.
Your unique perspective and expertise is crucial to showing your community the stories of the people who live there. What media do YOU think needs to be shown? What story can you provide the world? How can this lead to a healthier place for you and your community? As we will further explore,
if you SHOW it, you can CHANGE it!