During crisis, the media is rampant with stories, reports, scoops, features, and pieces of information that may or may not be true. The sad reality of today’s media is this: Many media outlets are not in the business of reporting the news; they are in the business of selling the news. Some members of the media need to T.H.I.N.K. before they report: T=Is it TRUE? H=Is it HELPFUL? I=Is it INSPIRING? N=Is it NECESSARY? And K=Is it KIND?
Since Monday evening, Liberty resident and local marathon runner, Chad Rogers, 30, has been missing after leaving for his evening run. He left, “wearing black running shorts, red running shoes, no shirt and a bright orange visor. He never jogged with an ID or cell phone” (Hawley and Weber 1).
Rogers is an experienced runner and has run in races as prestigious as the Boston Marathon. His close friend and a current Liberty High School Track Coach, Tim Fritson, also ran in the Boston Marathon, including this year when tragedy occurred at the Finish Line of the race. 41 Action News’s Lindsay Shively was able to make closer connections of this spring’s national story by reporting on Fritson and his wife, who thankfully were physically unharmed. Shively was able to humanize a national tragedy without exploiting her relationship to her friend or exaggerate a story just to ‘have something to report’.
Now Fritson is in the news again. “I’m really encouraged by the number of people who are here to help,” Fritson said Tuesday evening (Hawley and Weber 1).
Family and friends have also made a Facebook page called “Bring Chad Home” to post updates and gather information.
“He’s fun-loving and is one of the people you meet and you feel like you’ve been friends a lot longer than that…” Fritson said (Hawley and Weber 1).
Just as it is the responsibility of our news media to T.H.I.N.K., it is also our responsibility as news consumers to do so as well. In order to be responsible consumers of the news, both what we read on the Internet and what we see on network television, we need to analyze and sometimes be skeptical of some of the ‘news’ we see. That also includes the information we pass along to others verbally—at the kitchen table, at the nail salon, at the baseball game, at church, or throughout the neighborhood.
The concept of T.H.I.N.K. does not just apply to the recent news coming from Liberty. It applies to all of the words we share with one another. As teenagers, we learn about how destructive gossip can be, but as adults, some of us forget the concept. Here is a gentle reminder to all adults, and especially those who mentor teens to share with them, that before you open your mouth, always T.H.I.N.K.
Hawley, Amy and Weber, Mitch. “Friends and Family Search for Missing Liberty Runner.” www.KSHB.com July 23, 2013.