It’s about to be a new week. A new day. Nobody wakes up thinking…
“Today I’m going to be diagnosed with cancer.”
“Today I’m going to be shot.”
“Today somebody is going to make me feel like crap.”
No. We wake up with hope.
We wake up with hope for a day full of success and not failure.
A day filled with love and not hate.
A day filled with more good news than bad news.
News is something that’s embedded into our daily lives. News is on our phones, it’s on our televisions and on our tablets. We all know that journalism is something that is full of good and bad news. I go to work knowing I will likely help cover stories that are often sad and tragic. Friends consistently text, “How can you sit there and watch that all day? How do you cover these stories daily?” Someone has to. They’re often the stories that people don’t want to listen to but need to be to heard in order for there to be change.
It’s a topic I got into Friday with a stranger who knew I was a journalist. He said he recognized me from Twitter and that he knew I worked for “the network” (which the way he said it made it feel like I was part of some secret society out to hurt people). He started yelling at me about how we need to protect our youth from the “evil” being reported on tv. Don’t ask me why he was yelling. Maybe he thought I couldn’t hear him over the rain. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take my earbuds out to directly acknowledge his rant. He continued his rapid fire of words on how school shootings, etc should stop being covered by the media. He continued this one-sided debate as we waited for the bus… in the rain…with our umbrellas shielding us from the elements. I was not amused.
I had just finished a long workweek and was headed to an MRI. I was not in a mood to be lectured about how “news sucks” and that journalists need to do more to “protect” people. I wanted my umbrella to protect me from more than the rain. I wanted the umbrella to protect me from his words too! I am not a big debater. I like to tell stories. I like to make a point now and then on topics and issues that are important to me…but I am not one who thrives on debating with a stranger. I’d rather put words into action and help make the change that’s needed. So, my action was to turn to this guy and sternly say, “Protect people from what? From reality?! From the fact that 17 people were killed in a school and that there needs to be more gun control?! That three officers were shot and killed this week in just two states?! That, yet another child died of the flu? Sir. I’m sorry the news upsets you, but I’m not sorry for reporting it." The man just stared at me. The bus came. We put our umbrellas down and boarded the bus… in silence.
Silence is what I needed in that moment, but it’s not what this nation needs now. The United States isn't just about you and me. It’s about US. I think it’s important to think about things that you haven’t personally experienced and things that haven’t directly effected you because in some way or another they have. They will. They do. These are the stories being told in newscasts in cities around the country.
Don’t turn off the news. Don’t put down your tablets and newspapers. Don’t stop educating yourself just because you don’t like what you are seeing. It’s the world WE live in. It’s a world WE can change. It’s a world WE have a voice in…just remember to use your voice responsibly and educate yourself.
I was educated Friday in a life-lesson I needed reminding of. Umbrellas shield us but don’t protect us from the elements entirely. If we were protected from everything we wouldn’t know right from wrong. We wouldn’t know what changes needed to be made in the world, within our country, within ourselves. Sometimes it’s okay to put away that umbrella and let the rain hit you.