Friday, February 18, 2011

Rochester’s environment, Public Service Announcements, and local media:


Much of what we see on our local media’s front pages is not news: sports scores, local opinions, every little social transgression, or how to tighten your abs.

Lately, it’s beginning to look like our local media doesn’t have any money to post any real news, except the lowest lying fruit—and much of that fruit is spoiled.  Also, notice how many media are slowly slipping their content behind pay walls—long after the horse has left the barn.

Sure the media is in a crisis for a variety of reasons, but not because of the Internet. They were in trouble before that.

One of the ways the media can change their ways is to present news, actual news that folks need to know.  Here’s how to change that in this Great Recession: One of the things that our present media could do to replace non-news with real news is something they should do and are loathe to do: continual public announcements. Reminding the public that they should recycle, how to recycle, that bicycles have as much right to be on the road as vehicles, that bicyclists should mind the laws as well, that the public shouldn’t litter, and that the public should dispose of hazardous waste properly.

The great value in the media not charging our authorities for public announcements (which, morally they should not be doing because the public owns the airwaves) is that the public would get a truer picture of what our reality is.

When the most outlandish and unnecessary stories continually fill our headlines, instead of the constant reminders that our planet is warming up and how this will change our lives, how we continually waste food and dispose of hazardous and recyclable materials improperly ,we continue the delusion that we have a sustainable environment. We don’t.

We have an environment that is being shaped by the opinions and desires of the few—the few with money, the few with influence, not necessarily the majority who has to eke out a living off an unhealthy environment.

Our local media should continually give public service announcement because they are using public airwaves, regulated by the government.

Critical information about how to make our environment more healthy by our collective behavior should not have to be paid for, but should be something the public is exposed to whether they like it or not.

I understand that the media needs to pander to their advertisers and the people who buy their media, but our media shouldn’t be exclusively a self-deluding world of self-interests. There are matters that humanity needs to attend to daily (like recycling and Air Quality, and invasive species, and more) no matter how boring, and irritating.

We live on a planet where physics rule not the god almighty dollar.

If the state, county, or city needs to get the public to change their behavior for reasons of safety, public health, or to keep our environment healthy, they should not have to spend a cent to do that in our media.

And, these continual messages should be in a place on the media where the public can find them.

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