At the core, it is really as simple as this. Life is a journey, and those in communications just share the experience with others.
When I get to speak with those who work in local and national media, they struggle when I tell their story. They are so used to facilitating the role of telling the stories of others. It is a self-contained comfort zone, where they take the spotlight off of themselves to highlight the struggles or successes of those in our community.
Last week, a local radio host was asked by a teenager to share his personal story and advice in dealing with what can be a life-altering event.
Kidd O’Shea, a morning show host at WMYX-FM 99.1 The Mix, got this message in his inbox:
"Hey Kidd! I'm 17 years old and I'm messaging you to see if you could give me some advice. I listen to your show every weekday morning and I hope to hear something from you. I'm gay, and I'm struggling with getting the confidence to tell my parents. I was wondering if you could share your story, or give some advice on what to do. Thanks Kidd!!!"
O’Shea, the openly gay host, who shared his coming out story with co-host Elizabeth Kay, offered the context for the songs that were on the radio, the way he wore his hair and the conversation that took place with his mom and then his dad. A day after O’Shea’s told his story, the teen, known as Eric, phoned in to tell how his experience went.
You can hear the audio on O’Shea’s blog here.
Kay, who has been open with her fertility journey has also been able to develop a connection with her listeners.
When I interviewed Sally Severson about her induction into the Silver Circle, we were talking about the role those of us in the media play. She joked that all she brought to the table was whether to bring an umbrella to the picnic or not. But there is always something more to it for the connection that is made with the people in our community.
They get to feel that they get to know you, just as Kidd and Elizabeth are sitting in the car next to you on the morning commute to school or work.
Or Sally being there every morning, invited into people’s homes. And when she’s not there – like on a vacation day – the people are worried, because there was a change to the routine and they lost the comfort in that routine.
There is more to be said to just being there, to share a little about yourself, that they can identify with. A gay teen coming out to their parents, a woman dealing with life after a miscarriage, and a long-time viewer who goes to the TV set to provide stability in a chaotic world.
The shows we watch, the people we listen to and the others we meet in the written word become part of the relevant world in which we interact with each other. Within our neighborhoods we can find comfort, acceptance and support.
The media and the members of the community which it serves develop a friendship.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.