Back in the day, we often asked ourselves what our job as journalists was. Our favorite answer was, “to give voice to the voiceless.” It felt good to say, it was rewarding to do and for a while we actually (and naively) believed it.
In fact, our job was to make money for a big corporation. And unfortunately, giving voice to the voiceless is a labor-intensive process. You’ve got to find the voiceless, gain their trust, get enough “good stuff” from them that you can tell a compelling story, interview “the man” to get his side of the story (“the man”, by the way, is always reluctant to talk), convince producers that you need more than 90 seconds to tell the story, and consult with the legal department to make sure you aren’t stepping on the wrong toes. All of that takes time, skill, commitment and a very slow news day.
These days, most local news is about giving a voice to politicians, cops, attorneys and criminals. They’re easy to find and always have something to say. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
But now there’s a new wrinkle called Reality TV which, in a way, is giving voice to the previously voiceless. Reality TV gives voice to idiots. It turns out that idiots are really smart. They understand that rude, crude and obnoxious behavior will not only get them their 15 minutes, it might get them their own show and then lasting celebrity. How else to explain Snooki, Honey Boo Boo, and the endless stream of “Housewives.”
I’m not saying I never watch reality TV. It can be strangely, mind numbingly addictive. Truth is, I think we’re hard wired to want to watch reality TV. Human beings like nothing more than watching “people like me.” Turns out idiots like to watch other idiots and there are lots of them out there. It’s a really big niche.
Discovering that giving voice to the dysfunctional is a highly profitable business model makes it even less likely that there will ever be a wide scale return to journalism’s original mission of giving a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless.
At the Bolder Media Group we’ve found a niche we can live with. In fact, it’s a niche we’re proud of. We typically give voice to those who have one but aren’t overly concerned with using it. They’re not trying to get attention. Not trying to make a statement. They’re too busy enjoying their life. Too busy pursuing their passions. Too busy chasing their dreams. They’re happy to be role models but that’s not their goal. They have something amazingly compelling to say, if we will only listen. We’ll listen if someone will give us the opportunity. That’s what we do.
Our content doesn’t include any F-Bombs, catfights, “bitch slappin’,” whore mongering, or rude dude behavior carried to the extreme. We avoid the “let’s create a car wreck” model that is easy to do but, in our estimation, brings no true value to life.
Much of news and entertainment TV has become the equivalent of chemical-laden, highly processed fast foods. It’s not only not good for you; it’s bad for you. But it tastes good and is engineered to be addictive. We like to think of ourselves as the whole grain, organic version of TV and radio programming. Yes, it costs more to produce. It’s harder to distribute. But it’s ultimately far more satisfying and can actually make you a healthier, more vital human being. So eat up. Have you had your Growing Bolder today?