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Endless Guilt for our Consumer Ignorance.

by on September 22, 2016

Whether you consume the news every day, witness the distressing images on news channels or just scroll through your Facebook timeline, you will be exposed to the outcry and efforts to publicly support victims when a shooting occurs in the western world.

Hashtags such as #PrayForParis or #JeSuisBruxelles are quick to surface following a terrorist attack or shooting report. Other ways people attempted to support each ordeal was by changing their profile picture, another way to show your acknowledgment of the attack.

But what next?

While the intentions of spreading this support are obviously in no way corrupt or fake, the broader prospective is more concerning. Whenever there is an incredible outpouring of support it gives me hope and faith in humanity, however, I can’t help but feel an enormous weight of guilt.

Guilt, because every day people are shot dead all over the world and it’s never reported.

Guilt, because after I’ve tweeted my hashtag I haven’t contributed or actually helped anyone – apart from the twitter trends.

Guilt, because as a journalist I wish we could draw the same attention to the violent attacks each day, all over the world.

Guilt, because my cynical self doesn’t doubt that even if it was reported, consumers are mostly concerned with what impacts them and might in the future.

Clearly there are people in the western world who care immensely about similar international attacks, but I find myself constantly frustrated on how we can give better justice to the other victims. Another example of this reporting and consumer ignorance was throughout the outbreak of Ebola. The outbreak of Ebola was covered for months in different countries before America. The coverage of Ebola was provoked by the potential danger that America citizens may be exposed to the disease, and so began the Ebola reporting.

These are two examples that I feel best portray my notion of guilt and ignorance. The ethical dilemma I feel torn between is, how do we report more than what only impacts us while doing justice to those that the light is never shone on?

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2 Comments
  1. I resonate with the notion of guilt that you mentioned in your post. It’s an unfortunate inevitability that comes with having compassion and faith in the most human parts of humankind.

  2. Unfortunately, most news coverage is given to wealthy, white nations in terms of the tragedies you brought up. Many of the news outlets that are available to us as readers will also refrain from writing too heavily about nations in Africa, Asia, and The Middle East unless there is going to be a direct effect on U.S. citizens. In other words, readers generally have shown that they are unwilling to read the articles about nations such as Nigeria or Laos, which in turn informs media of what we want to read. That is most often about wealthy, white nations. As journalists, we have to find ways to highlight that areas of the world that get little recognition and provide evidence to our readers about how it would benefit them to read about different nations. Maybe we have to start leading articles with more evidence that suggests a stories importance, or maybe it’s not even possible. If readers do not want to read more about how an explosion caused X number of deaths, or about how a new election can change a whole lot for a nation, or how different outlying groups in some nations have attacked cities, then can journalists change their minds? Or, is it not something we have total control over?

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