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Where News Comes From Matters

This headline in the LA Times made me cough up my morning coffee the other day. While I'm sure it was a tragedy to the family of the poodle, it also provides a striking example of how "news" has changed in this the 2nd largest media market in the country.

But more importantly, it underscores the dramatic need we have for sources of news and information that are relevant to our respective communities.

If you live in La Crescenta and own a small dog this is probably relevant, maybe even important news. But for it to be the focus, even in a small way, of a major regional newspaper, indicates how challenged other communities are to get in the news.

I can name at least three significant issues and events that "mainstream news" organizations like the LA Times have ignored just in the last couple of weeks - events and issues that matter to people like me.

Possible environmental contamination in Compton; Trump supporters have been disrupting city council meetings in predominantly Latino cities; and a major foundation teamed up with a well-known public policy organization to conduct an important study of several working-class communities.

These "stories" matter to several large communities but they didn't get much, if any, coverage. And when they do get coverage it's usually about crime or fires or car chases. And forget any coverage about positive developments.

SMXL"Mainstream media," as the most popular/influential news media outlets are often called, are all guilty. If you follow those outlets regularly the picture you have of this region is vastly different than the reality for millions of people.

That's the main reason we created the California Media Makers Project.

If we cannot influence "mainstream media" then we need to create new streams of media. Technology has provided the tools but they're not in everyone's hands yet. Too many live on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.

We must tell our own stories. We must train a new generation of storytellers who look more like the California we live in. We must challenge and change the current narratives about "people of color," immigrants, working-class families, young black men...the list goes on and on.

#mediamakers #powerofstory

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