Media is a mirror: what you see says more about you than you want to admit

What a simple and common reaction: get angry at the one telling you the story.

The true job of news gatherers is to reflect the communities they serve. Media is mirror. We can and should have a responsibility in pushing for a truer understanding and taking responsibility in making those communities better (however we define better) but we still must be representative of those whom we serve.

You are our source material. So you have more to do with our editorial mix than you might realize.

Yet, when we tell a story a reader doesn’t like — reporting on a trend that’s happening or a policy that’s being proposed or the way a word or building or resource is being used — it’s strangely common to attack that news organization. We are biased or liars or fools.

When you talk to enough sources angry about something you’ve published — and believe me, they range from the crazy to the absolute most mainstream — you find that far more often than is popular to say today, there is nothing in-objective, inaccurate or slanderous. The reader simply doesn’t like the trend or the policy or the change. They don’t like how it makes them feel and they’ve been tricked into thinking the media is the problem.

But of course, the stories that are told and the narratives shared are likely far more reflective of the makeup of that publication’s readership’s interest than we want to admit. We just don’t always like what a news organization’s editorial mix says about ourselves.