RUSHVILLE —Let me start by offering one single humble opinion: There is no greater honor than to be the herald. I’ve enjoyed more than 25 years of doing that at a number of television, radio and print outlets around Indiana and the country. I intend to keep doing it as long as you all let me. It’s always been my dream to objectively inform people of what’s happening in our world. That way each of us can make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. But rarely can we as heralds shout from the tower turret, “It’s 11 o’clock and all is well.” Some of you may have heard that I’m no longer working for WISH in Indianapolis. It was a parting of the ways that was based partly on a difference of opinion about the way we provided content and partly on the fact that as a longtime employee I was making enough money that WISH could easily replace me with two or three people for the same salary. “It’s not personal. It’s business.” I don’t dispute the economics of that. I get it. But there is a backstory in today’s journalistic world that you need to understand. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about us. When the economy tanked and the car dealerships stopped buying advertising, local television was forced to do the unthinkable: reduce staff and desperately improve ratings (revenue). We became the story. It was all about us knocking on doors and shoving cameras in people’s faces so that we could bring you the big stories by asking the tough questions. Sadly, they weren’t the questions most of the viewers wanted to be asked, and based on feedback, they weren’t the stories you wanted to see, either. It’s now all about SVAG. Shock Value and Attention Getting. Instead of us telling you what you need to know, it’s all about us shouting to you about what we found and how we found it. Relevance is not required. The lead line of every story should make you want to keep watching and learning. But the next time you watch the news count how many times the anchor says something like, “Now to a story we first told you about yesterday or this morning or as breaking news just minutes ago.” How about they just tell us the story without bragging about who told us first? Stop wasting my time by selling yourselves instead of telling us what we need to know. The bean-counters keep wondering why the adult demographics keep vanishing and the younger viewers don’t view the way we used to. Here’s a hint. Your product is seen as demeaning by only touching on the lowest common denominators, fear and loathing of things that rarely hit home. It’s an icy truth that has sucked out the warmth that was once the hallmark of the medium. The natural marriage of words and sound, color and clarity, real truth and not contrived stories that always make for great promotion. If we just spent half the time we do pursuing stories that our viewers tell us they care more about, we’d deliver at least a little of the responsibility that you once expected of us. If we can figure out a way to regain that responsibility again, perhaps the gravity of what we are trying to provide can be weighed by you again. My wife (who has a long and strong background in television) reminded me this morning that if there is something you don’t like about what media outlets are doing, don’t think that the decision makers can read your minds. Let them know through phone calls, emails, and message boards. It’s amazing how much weight a single response from you can have when it comes to a response from them. Your world is not always about murder and mayhem. Some nights it would be a pleasure to stand on the tower and remind you that “all is well.” And have you believe it. Rick Dawson is a freelance journalist and a Rush County resident. You can contact him at email@example.com.
The best years of your life
As people age they often look back to fondly recall the best years of their lives. Natural timeframes are the college years or that certain age before the daily grind of work and family take over the bulk of the day. Associations are to being carefree with limited responsibilities, a light and airy existence.
Ziemke: My Summer Homework
Even though session has been out for a little more than a month, the General Assembly still has much work to do. I had a brief break where I got to go home and mow the lawn, spend time at my restaurant, the Brau Haus, and attend a few festivals in addition to continuing to work on constituent concerns. The time has come for work on summer study committees to commence and I’m ready to get back at it.
Mauzy: Rush County: The hope and the despair
Moments arise when hope and despair briefly intersect. During these emotional overlaps, it’s a toss-up as to which energy will win even though we desire the best. Two recent high-profile events present the overlapping calamity often noticed in this community.
Asbestos awareness is an important topic
My father, sister and husband all died because of asbestos. Now my brother has asbestosis. I set up my website because of the death of my husband to let people know of the dangers. It was the first website designed by a person on the internet at that time instead of by lawyers. The stories are to honour those effected by asbestos and to make sure they are never forgotten. I had just finished the last sentence when I heard of Janelle’s death.
Proposed parade route
I see room for compromise on the 4th of July parade route. Up Main Street to 5th Street then take 5th Street to Harrison Street to 11th Street.
Barada: Good advice for parents and college students
This week’s column is more for the parents of kids about to head to college than unsolicited advice for students about to go. Why? Because kids going away from home, some for the very first time ever, can be an even more traumatic event for the parents than for their children!
Stop the student loan interest rate hike
The key to a great life is a good education. But paying for a college education is tough. Many families are taking out second mortgages. Some are putting-off deserved vacations. Others are telling their kids they just can’t afford to attend the school of their choice.
Mauzy: Recent graduates are free to explore
Two weeks have now passed since Rush County Schools released new graduates from a state required academic curriculum.
Parade should be on Harrison Street
There was good reason for not moving the parade back onto Main Street after the third lane was rammed through: we learned Harrison Street is a better route for both the participants and the spectators.
Barada: The right people in key places
For the first time in years, this community has exceptionally good people in key places within organizations involved directly with helping make Rush County a better place in which to live!
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