Holding a mirror to the world

As a journalist, I believe that the job of a newspaper is to hold up a mirror to the world, to show the readers a reflection of life as it is occurring. The goal is to reveal everything about society, both good and bad, without commentary. Thus, the newspaper becomes an image of a moment in time. Each day is another moment. And, as the moments pass, they are part of an historical record. Thus, journalists are the recorders of a living history.

Sometimes, we don’t like the image that we see in the mirror. We insist that it’s not us, that it can’t be us. That image is distorted. Too fat, too short, too something that isn’t us. We are not that thing that you presented.

You showed us looking like a funhouse mirror that distorts. It’s fake. Fake news, fake image. Too much revealed, and it’s unflattering.

Some of the articles that I’ve written show us at our worst. Part of what I do is to reveal the dangers lurking in our communities. Among other things, I’ve written about domestic violence and an industry polluting entire neighborhoods with carcinogens. But it’s not all bad.

The image that I was able to present was of people and organizations working to support victims of domestic violence, to help them find safety. In the other article, the image revealed was of a shocking lack of concern for safety on the part of the industry involved. But, once again, there were people and a grassroots organization involved to make a difference. 

I’ve written stories about cancer survivors and about their caregivers. The images revealed portrayed people at their best: a ten-year-old girl giving solace and help to her best friend, her eight-year-old sister; a five year old boy who comforted his mother after she was informed of his cancer diagnosis; a mother and daughter who took care of each other when they both had cancer (not at the same time). 

These are the stories of us that journalists share. They are the mirror that they hold up to us. It is through our acts of kindness that the mirror image changes. We have the power to change the image of us that the mirror displays. And then we can see revealed before us bright shining rays of hope. A snapshot of a moment in time. Not distorted. Not fake. Just us.

10 thoughts on “Holding a mirror to the world”

  1. That's how I think of journalism, too – as revealing the truth about the way things are. But I am glad you also tell hopeful stories. And courageous ones. Cute and fun ones, too. We need more good news!

  2. Your stories are always wonderful to read – no matter whether they reveal harsh truths or the ones that bring smiles all over..

  3. I'm so glad you shared the story of what you write about and why. Yes, we all need to be aware of the good, the bad and the ugly. We need more REAL stories. Your photo's are wonderful.

  4. Beautiful photos and a wonderful post and I could feel myself meeting the people with Cancer which I had to go through with my family when my mom passed away. As for newspapers I miss sitting down and reading them with my dad who is now deceased.

  5. I especially love your quote, "We have the power to change the image of us that the mirror displays." As a domestic violence abuse survivor, I spent a lot of years feeling and thinking like a victim of my past. Now I see that my experiences with sexual abuse have become the source of my greatest power; my ability to love and be compassionate with myself and others.

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