Tag Archives: journalism

A Journalistic Failure, Not a Funny Post

Recently I’ve seen many people share a post on Facebook of an interview that aired on the news in Tulsa, Oklahoma. People have found it hilarious. In fact, the YouTube video has been viewed almost a million times and made into other jokes.

This post, however, is not funny. It demonstrates a problem with the media that has yet to be fixed: the portrayal of people, places, or incidents that play into preexisting, negative stereotypes.

I can very vaguely understand where one is coming from when they laugh at the video. Yes, she is almost acting out the scenario in a somewhat comedic fashion, but the amount of views, shares, and laughs that have come from this interview aren’t focused on her storytelling, but instead by the stereotype she reinforces.

By airing this interviewee’s depiction of what happened at the apartment fire, the media reinforces negative stereotypes about African-Americans that the media should be working to alleviate. The media’s job isn’t to portray everyone in a positive light, nor should it, but by making her vernacular, her language, her appearance and her visible class the focal point of the story rather than the facts of the incident, KVUE does exactly what it shouldn’t.

This can be seen in scenario after scenario. Take, for instance, Antoine Dodson, who went viral after saying “hide yo kids, hide yo wife, ‘cause they raping everybody out here.” His interview became memes, a remixed song, and his words remain mocked.

In both instances, news outlets chose to air interviews that paint black members of society as people who portray damaging depictions of Black America. Maybe this woman was putting on a show however, the media has responsibility in their work. It should inform and educate, and while doing so, it should not play into or reinforce any stereotypes or preconceived notions about culture, race or religion that many people have.

This is an example of such, and in turn, I am not at all proud of this journalistic decision.

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Follow Your Dreams, Fight Your Fears

Syracuse University has allowed me to grow as an individual, expand my intellect ability and learn from different types of people. At school, I’ve met students with similar goals as well as those with opposite moral standings. We’ve discussed life experiences, values, and our ideal future.

In the past year I have orated my goal to copious amounts of people. I’ve reiterated it to the point where it’s almost a routine- one that’s become redundant.

“I want to be a foreign correspondent for a major news network reporting from the Middle East.”

Yes, there it is.

Being a lofty goal, I’ve been met with my critics. “The Middle East, huh?” they’ve said with a lack of confidence in my abilities. “Oh- so you want to be on the national news,” they’ve said before adding, “You know it takes a while to get there.” Followed by “the Middle East isn’t the safest place,” as though that is a form of deterrent.

I realize I have high goals, that my dreams are ones many share. I’ve had it since fourth grade, when I wrote my own newspaper “The Mistry News” and handed it out to classmates, teachers, and family friends. That was over 10 years ago, and I’m still chasing the same dream.

Well, Debbie Downers, I’m not stopping. One of the saddest things I’ve witnessed is how frequently my fellow classmates change their major to something safe because they think they can’t compete in the market they’ve dreamed of entering. I’ve seen dreamed broadway stars switch, fellow journalists switch, all to majors they know have safe jobs and comfortable lifestyles.

I don’t criticize their decisions; if they find happiness in these fields so be it. But personally, I would never be able reroute my entire life to corporate America because I know that I could make it there.

As Arthur Christopher Benson once said, “the worst sorrows in life are not in its losses and misfortunes, but its fears.”

I don’t want to be fearful that I won’t find myself reporting from the sands of the Middle East as war continues in the background. I’d rather have that energy be utilized for productive work or confidence in my abilities. I don’t want to find myself one day, in a house in suburbia, watching the Today show after dropping off my two children to school and wonder, “could I have made it there?”

Instead, I’ll spend my summer learning Arabic and reading books on economics so I can be well versed in every matter I could possibly report on. I’ll spend breaks interning at news organizations that will hone my journalistic skills. I’ll graduate college and report in small town America before ever having the chance to advance to a larger market.

It will be years before I find myself, with a camera pointed at me and a CNN microphone in my hand, saying “This is Meghan Mistry, reporting live from Saudi Arabia.” But one day I’ll get there, and that will be the time when I can remember how Jim Carrey said, “you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love,” and know that my dreams were reached, and my critics put to rest.

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