Published June 8, 2016
BY JENNIFER THURBIDE
It has been three years and one week since my opinion has graced the pages of this publication. Long-time readers will know I spent from 2010-2013 collecting and disseminating community news to the Red Lake District as a staff writer. In 2013 I chose to move into the business world and try something new.
If you do the math that works out to 145 editions of community events, local meetings and at least two elections that I have missed out on while sitting on the sidelines. During that time I have enjoyed being a spectator and not a commentator. The cheap seats aren’t front row, but they have been comfortable these past few years.
So why return? My family and friends have asked me that and if they’ve caught me on a ‘feisty’ day they regret the question quickly as the answer is long, involves hand gestures and more than one expletive. The simple answer though is: the opportunity presented itself, and I was asked.
Much of how news is disseminated has changed in the few years I have been away from media. Who am I kidding, news delivery has become unrecognizable to me in the 15 years I have been involved in media. The predictions of my 90s multimedia courses of electronic media domination are so irrelevant that they don’t even make for entertaining dinner conversation.
While I don’t intend to turn this editorial into a rant and rave about the good old days of getting your news from Peter Mansbridge, Dan Rather or the like, I do want to point out that we in old media have a love/hate relationship with ‘new’ or electronic media and its prettier, richer and more popular sister “social” media.
While I respect that social media is intent on doing just that, making us “social”, I think we have reached a point as a society, or at least as a community, that we have forgotten how to interact with our neighbours without aids and the need for anonymity. We are constantly being exposed to platforms of anonymous sharing of opinion, ideas and “news” be it good, bad or ugly. And many of us are tuning in for the entertainment of it all.
But what has the impact been? In my opinion services like these have ruined it for people who truly want to put an educated or well-researched opinion out into the world. They fear retribution and I have to admit it is public backlash, bullying and shaming that is all too regular that have stopped me from expressing a frustration or even a positive thought through social media of any shape or size.
What we are teaching our children – are we teaching them to stand up and own their opinion and their thoughts or are we showing them how easy it is to hide behind an anonymous
So instead of joining the masses I am taking a step out on my own. Opinions contained in this column are mine and they will always have my name on them. They may not always be of interest to you, they may not always be favourable. But they will always be attributable.