The media ripple
It used to be that when I tuned in to ESPN Sports Center each night, I could get my daily fill of sports related stories in a matter of minutes. Whether it was highlights from a game I wasn’t able to watch, or a simple run-down of the day’s scores, it served as a wonderful time management tool for a recovering sports junkie. Unfortunately, times have changed. Today, ESPN, along with every other news channel, seems to be littered with depressing stories of professional and/or collegiate athletes who have made horrendous mistakes.
I’ve written in the past about the power of the ripple effect as it relates to leadership (click here). Simply put, everything we say or do creates an invisible ripple, which in turn influences the people around us. When I work with students, I constantly remind them of this principle and their inherent potential for positive, sustainable change as a result of their own ripple. In addition to the ripple that we create, we are also heavily influenced by the ripples of others. One such influence, which we often fail to recognize, is the mass media (television, internet, etc…). Each time we watch something, read something, or hear something, it shapes (or influences) the way we think. Unfortunately, the powers that be in the world of media know that “bad news” sells. Therefore, they aren’t interested in how their stories might negatively influence our minds; they are more concerned with the bottom line, which in this case is how a particular story might affect their ratings.
Imagine a 10-year-old boy sitting down with his dad at night to watch Sports Center. Instead of leading off with game highlights, a giant BREAKING NEWS sign sweeps across the screen. What follows is a detailed account of a crime, committed by an athlete, complete with video footage and several graphic still images. While there is no way of knowing how this boy may interpret what he saw or heard on the television screen, the fact remains that it did influence his thinking. I would argue that it did so in a negative way.
I am well aware of the fact that this blog alone isn’t going to change the “bad news” reporting practices of the major networks. However, that won’t stop me from creating my own ripple of positive influence by encouraging you to seek out “good news” stories and to share them with your kids. If you are interested in providing your child with an empowering lens, then it’s absolutely critical that you counter all of the “bad news” they are already subjected to with messages of hope, resilience, and all that is right in the world.
Below are a few of my favorites.
To see a powerful story of a group of middle school football players who conspired to do an unforgettable act of kindness for a teammate, click here.
To see a post-game interview that is unlike any other, click here.
To see the touching story of Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father/son team who have competed in multiple triathlons despite the fact that one of them has cerebral palsy, click here.
If you have a favorite “good news” story, sports related or not, please share the link below. Together, we can change the world, one positive media ripple at a time.