Tonight, there will be a town meeting at the library with folks from The Evening Sun and Channel 8. They have done these for a while, but I have never attended, for a variety of reasons.
This one will be no different although I have a better excuse this time – I have a work commitment that won’t allow me to join the crowd. I hope people go and have a little advice for those who do go to meet Marc Charisse and the rest of the panelists.
Remember what these people can accomplish.
I have read stories from past town hall meetings and wondered if the people there to complain understand the limits of a newspaper editor and television producer. They can’t fix the problems in the town.
So don’t ask them if they think the school districts should merge, ask them what resources they have allocated for in-depth coverage of the budgetary and programmatic challenges that school districts face now. Don’t ask them why the police can’t stop drug sales in a certain area of town, ask them what they know about crime patterns and if they are doing any stories on how police allocate their resources.
These aren’t complaints of mine about how the paper or TV station do things, just some examples of where common criticisms should be directed in this kind of venue. Trust me, the people in newsrooms probably complain about the same things you do. They just have to find a way to channel those complaints into coverage instead of just negativity.
The media can’t solve problems, but they can find a way to shine a light on things which need attention in a way the people in charge don’t always think of. Help them do that by putting your attention on potential solutions, not just re-hashing the problems.