POWER TO THE PRESS: TIME FOR “R.E.S.P.E.C.T”

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August 16, 2018

 

I’m closing out today thinking about respect – for two reasons.

The first: music icon Aretha Franklin died today.

News of her failing health stirred emotions earlier this week, sparking fans’ expressions of dismay coupled with appreciation for Ms. Franklin’s life, music, and legacy. Dubbed “the Queen of Soul,” she lived up to that moniker with class, dignity, style, and creativity.

She really was amazing!

Ms. Franklin inspired people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. She will be missed. But, undoubtedly, her music and legacy will live on, keeping her close in our hearts.

One of Ms. Franklin’s much-loved songs was “Respect.” Fans through the decades have sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” with gusto in myriad situations, many unrelated to the song’s theme.

This week I was thinking of it in terms of freedom of the press.

Why?

I discovered that today more than 300 newspapers across America planned on printing editorials on the importance of a free press. In doing so, they would join The Boston Globe in reinforcing the importance of our nation’s press, while refuting accusations that the press is the “enemy of the people.”

When I heard about the effort, I wanted to join it!

So, with this short blog article, I join them in embracing, celebrating and advocating for a free press.

This is not fake news!

A GROWING RESPECT

As a young student, I was encouraged to read newspapers and magazines. In school, some of the most fascinating discussions and assignments focused on current events found in newspaper articles. We then discussed and analyzed the news and its importance to us individually, locally, or as American citizens. At times, we also had to write paragraphs or essays about selected articles.

My love of news started in those early classrooms.

Then…

I fell in love with journalism after reading a biography of Joseph Pulitzer in eighth grade.

I’ve quoted a version of those words many times over the years to share why I chose to become a writer, pursued a dual degree in journalism and public relations, and have pursued writing for publication – exploring short and long-form projects.

The book about Joseph Pulitzer was called Joseph Pulitzer: Front Page Pioneer, written by Iris Nobel. Decades later I still remember the title, and the author’s name because of its impact on me. It stirred my love of journalism, especially investigative reporting.

In today’s heated political environment, investigative reporting is denigrated – often! Related attacks have made it increasingly clear that a free press is vital to keeping citizens informed.

That’s not fake news!

 

5 REASONS FOR SUPPORTING A FREE PRESS

Thus, I couldn’t let this day end without adding my voice to the many raised in support of press freedom.

Why?

First, as an American, I wholeheartedly believe that our constitutional right to a free press should be upheld – always.

Second, it is essential that legitimate, respectable news outlets be identified as such and not labeled “fake news” because they expose societal wrongs.

Third, escalating attacks on the media has put press personnel at risk of danger. That’s just wrong!

Fourth, free press is vital to maintaining an informed citizenship.

Fifth, the media is not exempt from criticism. When it fails to live up to its responsibility and commits error, the media should be held to higher levels of responsible journalism. Yet, it should not be forced to be a propaganda machine of any party, ever.

 

LET FREEDOM REIGN

The adage “no news is good news” has never been further from the truth than it is today. No news undermines a democratic society. No news keeps citizens ignorant of events and individuals working to undermine democratic principles.

Let’s be clear: Today, like never before in recent history, a free press is needed.

And it’s important to remember that…

The press is not the enemy of the people.

The Queen of Soul is worthy of the R-E-S-P-E-C-T she’s earned and received over her stellar career. Indeed, she is worthy of the innumerable tributes pouring in concerning the impact of her music on people’s lives – worldwide.

On a different scale and for different reasons, the press is also worthy of respect.

Today’s let’s commit to supporting the press and its important local, regional, and/or national work!

 

Lisa A. Crayton is an award-winning freelance writer, multi-published author, conference speaker…and more. She loves helping writers, and challenging them to achieve their goals and dreams! Meet her at the Marketing for Writers Conference. Connect with her on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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