Monday 28 May 2012

The slippery slope of sensationalism

I pay very little attention to the daily news in newspapers or on television.  My reason is simple. What is being provided is largely sensationalism and therefore is of no value to me.

Yesterday's Sunday Herald Sun was a great example with the feature all about how Olympic Gold Medalist Grant Hackett had supposedly trashed his luxury apartment (last October!).  It caught my eye because I met Grant once when we were both speakers at the same conference.  I warmed to his message then and was inspired by his humility.  What business is it of ours what Grant did or didn't do in his own home?  None of our business as far I as I am concerned.  Interestingly the feature article was written by a crime writer.  As far as I know Grant has not committed a crime or been charged with one.  Again none of my business anyway! 

Is is right that Grant should have his name trashed?  I don't think so.  The biblical story I heard as child has always rung true to me.  Apparently a bunch of self-righteous people had gathered to stone a woman found to have committed adultery.  Jesus is said to have intervened saying to the those gathered "He who is without sin cast the first stone." Of course everyone walked away.  As an aside I have often wondered why they weren't thinking of stoning the man involved as well, but that's another story!

Sensationalism or substance is our choice. It is easy to have a cheap shot at someone else.  It is quite easy to shock.  It is another thing altogether to provide material of substance and value.

Creating attention grabbing headlines is an art.  We all need to become artists.  What really matters though is the substance under the headline and whether or not our readers believe we are providing value to them.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

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