Media is a powerful tool. Media tells the world what their values are. What is in the news tonight? What is on the front page of the paper? Even if our resolve is to not be influenced by media, it surrounds us. Before you know it, it has seeped in to our makeup; through magazines, billboards, ads on our phones, youtube, social media, the list goes on. What media tells you is important, the majority of the world believes. So who is behind “media”?
I’ve sat with producers who are producing national shows, pushing strong political or religious opinions. How did the concept for this mass influential episode of a show come up? In the lunch room. It was one guy’s idea. I have found that minimum people have mass influence when it comes to media. So why can’t that person be you?
Media shapes culture, so let’s be part of the conversation. The reach is far and wide and with all that is now involved in what is affectionally called “modern media”, the influence and reach is even further. It will only continue to grow. You have access to people in their bedrooms as they get ready, in their lounge rooms, you can interrupt their family time, you can even reach them in their pocket while they are on the bus. Welcome to modern media.
My passion has always been television. I believe it Tells-A-Vision. I remember my first big TV gig was hosting a Saturday morning music show. It was great, but fairly soon I realized I wanted to not only speak to the camera, I wanted to write the script. From there, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many shows, as both a presenter and a producer. One of those was a segment on Morning television in Australia where my role was purely to comment on news topics. I was infinitely aware that people were ready to listen to my opinion and of the person sitting next to me, yet of course for ratings, there was the hope that our opinions would be conflicting. Where are the ratings if we all agree?
I learnt a few things during these shows:
- I would rather be known for what I’m for, rather than what I’m against.
- Always listen to the perspectives of others and let them speak without interrupting (Yes even on live television). Everybody just wants to be heard.
- A lot is to be said for a gentle yet concise opinion. Less is more.
- Don’t be afraid to give a different perspective, gently challenge the world view and communicate hope in a palatable way.
Something I have learnt to do is never be afraid to ask the big questions. Last year on my radio show I interviewed Louisa Hope – she was one of the final hostages in the LINDT cafe siege in Sydney. A siege that stopped the nation and held the attention of news stations all over the world. Louisa was used as a human shield and was even shot in the final crossfire. After hearing the horrors of that ordeal I asked her, “Are you angry? Have you forgiven that terrorist?” Her answer was pure and beautiful and cut to the core of society’s bent to picket angry revenge. She talked of love, forgiveness and choosing hope. Her answers that day changed me, and from the many emails I received, impacted many. Ask the big questions because the world wants to hear the answers. And more importantly, the world NEEDS to hear the answers.
Whatever part of media you work in, be encouraged. You are part of shaping culture. You are there for a reason. Speak life – the world is listening.