In 59 B.C. the first newspaper — called Acta Diurna (latin for Daily Acts or Daily Public Records), was published in Rome. Carved into wood or stone, verdicts and outcomes of legal issues were publicly posted to inform the city’s citizens. Soon the “Acta” was a source for news including announcements of births, marriages and other happenings. Etched at the end of each text was the saying, “publicare et propagare” or “make public and propagate“. It wasn’t until later that this new means to propagate was used for propaganda.
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For a long time our media has not been what it should be. Words like “reputable”, “fair”, and “honest” are not words to describe current day media. We have given corporations and governments the power to manipulate through information. It’s unfortunate that there are still some people who believe news outlets are their friends and a great public service.
Very little real “news” is presented and instead the media operates like one big giant Op Ed paid for by those who have something to gain by their manipulation. How much more are you willing to lose?
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It is up to us to be our own media, but that doesn’t mean run out and play “reporter’. It means we have to be smart and thorough and above all we have to be honest; all of the things today’s media is not. We cannot make the same mistakes or fall into the traps of corruption and or showmanship like the mainstream has and in order to be the best we can be — as well as be socially responsible in our writings, we need to learn.
I have spent a lot of time educating myself on the issues of our day. I have also worked in the media for more than twenty years. We have a moral duty as citizens of this country (any country) to pay attention, if not then we have no right to bitch. It is up to us to make our reality better. When it comes to media, we can make a difference. Corporate media may have the muscle, but we have the masses.
Image Source: Be the Media
One of the best ways to get it all figured out is reading Be the Media. This book has hands down been one of the biggest influences on me in the past several years. David Mathison — former Vice President for Syndication for Reuters, offers solid, practical and proven techniques in how to inexpensively create and widely distribute your content on every page. In addition, there is a Be the Media radio show where you can listen to and learn from some of today’s top thinkers like Squidoo’sSeth Godin, Craig’s List‘s Craig Newmark, Wired’s Kevin Kelly and many more. If you really want to take it to the next level the webinars are phenomenal. They even have webinars that teach you how to easily use social media in ways that save time and still benefit you.
David’s a great guy. I first met him at a 2007 media summit in Santa Cruz, CA. He is incredibly knowledgeable and connected yet very accessible and humble. It’s been a real pleasure knowing him and having his guidance. I trust him and I have used many of his methods over the years. If you are looking for ways to become a better journalist, I highly recommend checking out Be the Media. If you have a slew of writers working under you, you may want to check out his consulting or speaking services.
Writing is important to me. Writing accurately and well even more so.