Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Responsible Journalism

Today, I was forced to run a story I thought had no business being in the newscast... and certainly not off the top of the show as a "news alert." It made me think about responsible journalism. I always tell myself... You do not have permission to waste a viewer's time. Those are words from the very wise Al Tompkins. Al says a million brilliant things a day but this one rings true to me. It's true, we... in media... do not have permission to waste someone's time. They turn on the news expecting to get relevant, important information. But I wonder how often this actually happens. I'm going to do an experiment. I'm going to watch a few news programs and count how many stories I felt were a waste of my time. I encourage you to do the same. If you do, write a post or email me and tell me how many there where and what they were. I'm worried too many people are obsessed with what is "new" even if it's not relevant, close in proximity, or important to any of our viewers. In fact, I don't think anyone would have known where the story was taking place or what it meant, but someone "Just now" said it, so we get to add bells and whistles and call it an alert. Too much show... not enough relevance = waste of time. Call me old school but I think people would rather hear about something that had happened locally that is important to them... even if it a whole hour ago.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catholics & Their Rules

I think Catholic churches may have a rule to make it hard for people to get married in them. Marriage is a sacrament, of course, so there is a certain standard of sacred the ceremony itself should be held to. But since when does the Vatican decide you can't have a unity candle... and the soloist must be trained as a cantor by the Catholic Church?? All things I've recently learned in my quest to get married.... seems to me the Vatican should have more important things to worry about than whether or not I'm allowed to have a unity candle at the ceremony. Being the journalist that I am or was (that's really a loaded question)... but anyway.. I started researching the unity candle and just what is the problem with it. Most of what I found assumes people look at candles in church as "pretty lights" that are there for the look of the church... when in fact each candle in church symbolizes Christ. I say to those people, "Thank you for assuming our ignorance." I have never looked at a candle in church as if it were a "pretty light." And I certainly don't think that's what a unity candle is... and just because you blow out a candle, it does not mean you are signifying death. I think this is a perfect example of people reading too far into things and that's something that can drive people away from the church. There are people who have dedicated blogs to this topic... and people's "pretty lights." Below is one I found infuriating. Here is the link , but part of it is pasted below:

"You may see a few more candles about that have not been mentioned in this series. Some are simply not prescribed (but not necessarily banned) by the Church and there may actually be a few more that I have missed. (If you think of any, please let me know save for vigil candles which will round out this series next week.) But you will have marked that in each case they candles represent Christ. That is our symbolic language and unlike some of our symbolic language, these symbols are coded. This is why so many priests frown upon the unity candle. These candles do not represent Christ or His consuming of Himself on our behalf, but pretty lights that represent two people. The snuffing out as part of the ceremony comes terribly close to signifying death or the loss of Christ – or at least the loss of the idea of “a flame divided but undimmed.” It certainly is dimmed. Two people have just been obliterated. Then when the final candle is lit, it too does not represent Christ as does every single other candle in the sanctuary. It represents the new couple but to what end?It is possible to make up all kinds of symbolism for this ceremony and decent symbolism at that, but it will always be in competition with what is happening liturgically. Of course, even after coming to an understanding of all of this there will be people who still want to add this to their wedding though occasionally some will move it to the reception where it is most fitting. In the end the Catholic Church will not be destroyed by the Unity Candle but we should have a very clear understanding of what it is we are doing when we do use it in order to avoid falling into the error that all of the candles used in Church are just pretty lights to do with as we wish."

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Never-Ending Beat

You know what's annoying... when radio stations take a popular song that's either slow or medium speed, and decide to put the same techno-style beat behind it. They do it to everything these days, and it's kind of a slap in the face to the original version. I get so excited to hear the song coming on, and then i hear it "club-style." Does it work for some songs?... sure. But let's keep it under control. I'm tired of hearing every song there is put to the same exact beat and then played for the 20-in-a-row party theme on friday nights.
I'm just sayin...