Friday, September 26, 2008

Changing Times - Harris

I can barely watch the news these days. That would surprise people who knew me as a teenager. Back then, I absorbed everything I could about Canadian politics and government. I scoured the papers for in-depth reports of world events.

But these days, I often find myself reaching for the 'off' button when pundits start talking. I can't get through any of our three national newscasts on most nights. I find them jaded, narrow and without vision. I’m just not interested in the Bay Street, boring stories they are reporting on. I also get the impression the pundits hope Canada has a bad future.

Have I changed? Probably. Or has the media become more negative and out of touch? I think it has.

It appears that mainstream media no longer captures the interests of large segments of our population, especially youth and women. Advertising executives have told me that clients who want to target female buyers often don’t place ads in daily newspapers. Apparently, few women read these rags anymore. Many youth have also turned to alternatives sources of news – such as the Internet.

What is it about the major mainstream newspapers and newscasts that apparently turns off large demographic groups in our society? I can't say for sure. But here's an idea:

It may be that our nation is looking for salt, light, vision, grace and hope.

Who is better equipped than us, Christians working in the media, to provide Canadians with articles and books that do inspire them, even when other media sources don't? Maybe no one.

One thing is certain: If our audiences are not inspired, they will leave. In fact, I think I hear them already moving in the distance. But they are still near enough to hear us calling.

Now the hard questions: How do we write a news story that does that? What news stories do we cover? What stories are the major newspapers and newscasts missing that we can pitch to them? My guess is that there is a lot to write about. And that we can find it.

Better get our ears to the ground.

Jane Harris Zsovan

Jane Harris Zsovan writes in both mainstream in Canadian publications about faith, business, arts, and contemporary Canada. She is the author of Stars Appearing: The Galts' Vision of Canada. She contributed "Jessie's Generation: Canada's Firebrands of Mercy and Justice" to Hot Apple Cider: Stories to Warm the Heart and Stir the Soul. Jane writes Vision of Canada Blog, on contemporary and historical Canada.

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