When scrolling through twitter there are many posts about the peaceful moments of the current Georg Floyd protests from both sides of the political fence. They ask the same question ‘why are these examples of peace not been shown by the media?’. There is a simple and dangerous answer. Data drives decisions. Angry mobs of looters attract more clicks than peaceful joyous moments.
When the outcomes you are chasing are focused on increasing more; more people, more clicks, more revenue and the negative impacts not considered, bad things happen. Media needs a social conscience. To know they are shaping the world view and this carries great responsibility.
What should we do instead? We need a strong sense of what our purpose is and to look at what is being measured in an ecosystem. Don’t trade a supporting outcome to the detriment of your greater purpose. It’s not enough to look at the happy positive impacts without considering the potential negative impacts. And not just for the shareholders, but society at large. Media has a global reach so can no longer make decisions locally and selfishly. One small action, one small article can create a bigger reaction, the butterfly wing flutter that steers us down a dangerous path. Choosing the path that creates more clicks creates an inbalance in fair media coverage. Ask the question ‘is this helping us achieve our primary outcome/purpose?’ ‘What are the possible negative impacts?’