So, last night I ventured up to the infamous Twin Cities to listen to one of my all-time favorites Mr. Don Shelby talk about “Journalism: Facts Matter.”
It took me a bit to get up there. First as I was arriving at a predetermined meeting point of a friend’s condo, she called and said she was running late and we should just meet at the venue.
No problem. I will just pull over and type in a new address in Google Maps.
As I was leaving my son’s girlfriend called and needed some help with something that I should have been home to assist her with.
I called her and consequently got totally off the predetermined directions from Mr. Google. I ended up way on the east side of the Cities looking at the Wisconsin border.
No worries. It was beautiful and I had the time.
I feel awful that I couldn’t help the girlfriend and I hope she knows that I would have turned around in a heartbeat if she had wanted me to.
She’s a sweetheart!
So anyway, I digress…again.
Don Shelby is, in my opinion, an outstanding journalist and person.
He explained how we all have a duty and responsibility to make informed decisions when it comes to elections. It was his job to inform the public of the news.
Shelby iterated, “The founding fathers wanted to give citizens a public dialog without going to jail.”
He stressed how the first amendment is written for the people, not for the media. It is there for people to become informed and to make decisions on their own.
“The thing I respect most in this world is your informed opinion,” Shelby stated.
He was honestly trying to purvey the truth when he actively shared the news.
Shelby was raised in a home where responsible decision making was the norm. He said his father read both the morning and afternoon newspaper from front to back and nobody bothered him, while he intently educated himself on the workings of our nation.
His dad passed that responsibility on to Shelby; it was his responsibility to help citizen’s make informed decisions.
“Journalists get your attention on things that need our attention,” Shelby said.
That’s what he was trying to do when he was a paid journalist. He’s not so sure that’s what is happening today.
I asked, “How did you deal with the frustration of having to lead with fluff stories like Brad and Anjelina Jolie-Pitts baby news?”
“I quit,” he said.
He is disappointed in the fact that sometimes it’s more about ratings than NEWS.
“It’s like a popularity contest in high school,” commented Shelby.
A lot of the discussion dealt with where to find good, compelling and TRUTHFUL news to make informed decisions not only at election time, but also on matters that affect other aspects of our lives. Hear a story on how the environment is being harmed, call your legislator. Read a story on the legislators doing away with a valuable program, call your legislator.
According to Shelby, we need to find a reliable source of information from a publication that required reporters to get the facts correct. If the facts are incorrect, the journalist should be looking for a new job!
“If you get it wrong, you’re fired! “Avoid social media. Use trusted sources are the ones that don’t get it wrong.”
Now I have to go find a news source that doesn’t get it wrong.
I believe that news media today is lazy. They find news by scouring social media and using it to create a news story. They don’t have AT LEAST three sources and if they do, it turns into a shouting match and I can understand a damn thing any panelist is saying.
What is news?
It’s not a dog being able to say “I love you.”
Or Brad and Angie’s baby.
(By the way, Shelby does not watch the news anymore, much like many of the people in attendance. When he announced that the crowd applauded. When he saw a lead in that had to do with the top story being “how to find jeans that don’t make your ass look big,” he looked at his wife and said, “I miss me.”)