You may not have guessed from my spelling and grammar, but I’m American. I’m also Australian and British (like, a citizen), but that’s a story for another post.
Lately my NYTimes subscription has been filled with stories about Ferguson, a small town in Missouri. A man was shot by a police officer, and there’s been a lot of uproar about the circumstances of the shooting. That’s not what I want to talk about though.
I read something about journalists being arrested in a McDonald’s where they set up their makeshift headquarters. To me, that’s a sign that things are really going to hell in a hand basket there. In America, we have this thing called freedom of speech. It actually protects journalists from things like that. There were two journalists who were violently arrested, slammed into walls, etc, just for doing their jobs.
There have been a lot of reports about the conditions they’re reporting from. Reports of tear gas, rubber bullets, police in full militia gear, arrests made. It’s a wonder any of these reporters are still in the field. But when I think about it, that’s why we study media, in a way. To uncover truths. We become journalists, or filmmakers, or writers to find out how other people see the world or to express our own truths. But what extent do we go to in order to do so? Putting ourselves in harms way? Ruining other peoples lives? Exposing private moments? Do we go to dark places to try and bring light to them? How do we protect ourselves from the darkness?
Well, Lucinda, one of the fearless Prof Comm leaders, posted this article about working with traumatic imagery in our Facebook group today. I think it’s something we should all read and take in. As much as we might like people to think so, we’re not all heartless media hounds.