Those who have studied journalism will remember having been taught the five W’s. Well, that and never put a picture on the fold. While the fold thing may not be as important as it once was since most of us get our news from sources other than the traditional printed page, the five W’s are still the foundational structure of a properly presented news story. Who, what, where, when and why still need to be asked and answered by the journalist or else the news consumer is left asking those questions for themselves without the benefit of an answer.
By way of illustration, let’s take a look at a recent news item that caught the attention of and was reported by many local and national news shows. I saw the story on three different news outlets and still don’t know what caused the event. What I do know is that a grandmother and her dog were lost in the desert and were rescued. The grandmother, with her dog in the car was reported to have been driving in the desert and got lost. With no cell coverage available where she found herself, she evidently decided to hoof it to civilization and eventually laid out a “help” signal made of rocks and bones. After being spotted from the air, she sat on a rock and bawled and the officer rescuing her sat with her and hugged her.
The story we were given by various media outlets was one of grit, perseverance and a happy ending with hearts being warmed all around. Well, wait a minute. Did she run out of gas? Did her car break down? What would cause her to leave her car and wonder through the desert? Why wouldn’t she just keep on the road and drive to civilization? Inquiring minds want to know. None of those questions were answered in any of the coverage of this story that I saw.
We’re all glad she was rescued but has the media taken the Biblical principle of “let he who has never made a stupid decision cast the first question,” a little too far in their failure to find out what may have caused this dilemma? My take is that the news coverage available to us is just not of the quality it once was. Who do you think is a good news person? What would you change in news coverage? Where do you get your news? When is it wrong to ask questions? Why is any of this important? Your comments could be breaking news. Scoop the other guys and get yours posted here first while you are liking, sharing and subscribing! TTFN
You probably think this post is about you, don’t you? Well, I’m not Carly Simon and this post is not about you. It’s about the other guy. You know…the one that never gets back to you. Everybody has a pet peeve and as you may have guessed, one of my most hated and biggest pet peeves is people not getting back to you. Granted, if I’ve left a message about life insurance or a multi-level marketing scheme then fine, I understand you not returning my call. I would even applaud your discretion but if I have a reasonable expectation of a response then it is just plain rude for you to not get back to me.
Most of the time, the people that are not returning calls, emails or texts are in an office that is packed with equipment that is specifically designed for communications. They are sitting at a desk with a fax machine, telephone and computer right there in front of them and they even have a smartphone in their hands. Those are great toys. Play with them!
And don’t try to tell me you’re busy. Everyone is busy. I used to fly for a living. During those times when I was executing an instrument approach to minimums in heavy weather then yes, I was too busy to return your call. I can tell you though, I would get in touch with you once I was back on the ground.
Great thinker that I am, I pondered what could possibly cause some to ignore those who have tried to contact them. A couple things came to mind. There are certainly people with issues that preclude their ability to process things like you or I do. They just really don’t remember and are like the absent-minded professor or it just doesn’t register in their brain that proper social protocol dictates that they acknowledge others and respond.
Those who are deliberate in their failure to respond however, have no valid reason. Some falsely believe they are demonstrating or wielding power over those that are waiting for a response. Similarly, they may be attempting to create the impression that they are important and in great demand by withholding or delaying access to their time and attention. Others have never developed the ability to say no and are simply afraid they may be asked to do something or buy something if they respond to someone who contacted them. Come on people, grow a pair. It’s OK to say no.
There are even those who hide behind their voice mail so they can, at their convenience, pick and choose who and what to deal with. When you reach their extension you will hear their recorded voice, "I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now. I'm either helping someone or out of the office." NOT! What they really mean is, "I'm sorry you called. I'll fit you in later when it is convenient for me, if at all."
And don't get taken in with this one either. The person answers the phone and says, "Oh, I am so glad you called. I really want to spend some time with you on this but I was just leaving the office. If you can call back next Tuesday I will be able to spend more time with you." I was a linguist in The Air Force and I can translate this one for you. What they actually said was, "I am so pissed at myself for answering the phone. I promise it won't happen again." Yeah, you'll never get through to that person again.
Of course, it's possible that I just may be out of touch and could be wrong about all of this but at least I got back to you on it. What sayest thou? Tweet, like, share, subscribe, comment, give ‘em what for and above all…enjoy! Now go forth and do clickwise. TTFN