Browsing "In the Media"
Yesterday I read a recently published online article by a major news outlet about a tragic incident that happened on the Gold Coast in 1990 to a young teenage couple. The man who committed the atrocity against the two was found, charged, convicted and is still in jail. It’s a sad ending to an unnecessary story, but nonetheless, it’s an ending.
Then the question came to mind “Was this article and its content necessary and relevant?” The headline insinuating ‘a monster lurking in the darkness’ was obviously going to intrigue people and make readers click through to the article. Ten sentences in, I was transported into a horror movie with a graphic and disturbing blow-by-blow description of what happened to these two kids and the lack of remorse shown by the man who did it.
But firstly, allow me to digress for a moment . . . . .
Last year I completed a course at QUT where one of the lecturers simplified on how to write content that matters and will positively enhance the readers experience, the rule was ‘So what?’ You have written this content, so what is the reader going to achieve by reading this?
These are some of my own ‘So What’s?’ I wrote down during this course on creating content that mattered:
- Will the reader be informed?
- Will the reader be provoked in their thinking?
- Will the reader be encouraged to change something in their lives for the better?
- Will the reader’s life benefit in any way from this knowledge?
I read through this entire article and blinked away tears as the description left nothing to imagination. I read the article simply to see what possible ending and ‘point’ of rehashing this tragedy would be.
A park had been named in memory of one of the victims many years ago so maybe the ending of this article would be something meaningful such as a foundation set up for one of the victims’ families or charities. Perhaps the point of the article was that the convicted attacker was up for parole and they were petitioning to have him kept in jail? Or maybe this article was written reflecting on how security had since changed on Gold Coast beaches at night time since the incident?
There was nothing new to print. No point. No moving forward. Just re-hashing a terrible thing that happened to some really nice kids and leaving readers in shock with no direction to turn.
In addition to not giving the readers any tools to move forward, the reality was that the victim’s family and friends probably still live on the Gold Coast and undoubtedly replay the nightmare in their heads every day. Now, their personal tragedy is used as Shock Content which served no other purpose than for readers to click through to the article.
The thing that upset me most with this article was the disrespect which was left to the last paragraph of the article when the publication noted that they had contacted the mother of one of the victims. She chose not to comment as it was still too painful and yet the article was published.
Yes, the point of writing an article is for people to read it but as a writer, you have a responsibility to your readers and as a human being, you have a responsibility to the victims (if there were any). You are responsible for choosing content that is relevant, informative and – if appropriate – entertaining.
It’s not fair to kick the wind out of someone and just leave them gasping for air and that goes for writing as well. As a writer you need to take responsibility for your actions and ensure your writing is serving a purpose.
Make Your Words Count. KM.
There were no tears, no mindless carry on, there was just a man in a suit on stage pleading with us to look after our planet. It’s the Oscar speech everyone is talking about for the right reasons.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated 5 times for an Academy Award for his work in film and the world applauded as this much deserved artist finally received his first Oscar for Best Actor in The Revanent.
What made this victory even sweeter for us all was the amazing speech DiCaprio delivered and his ability to tie in the relevance of global warming into his Oscar win.
Here’s why the world is still spinning from the words of Leo’s Oscar acceptance speech:
- It showed grace.
- It showed humility.
- It showed genuine gratitude.
- It was the perfect of example of paying it forward with his acknowledgement of saving the environment.
Just like the order of processions for the ceremony, the best was saved until last when DiCaprio parted the stage after this ending statement of his acceptance speech:
“And lastly, I just want to say this, making The Revanent was about man’s relationship to the natural world – the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production had to move to the southernmost tip of this planet just to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.
We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous peoples of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed .
I thank you for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take this night for granted.”
What we can learn from Leonardo DiCaprio: The message in his words were all the more powerful due to the platform in which they were delivered. The audience were not expecting a selfless act, they were expecting talk about agents, congratulations to producers, other actors and self-inflicted pats on the back. Leonardo’s plight for the environment is not new with his recent appearance at the United Nations but his dedication to the cause is still evident with this recent plea to look after the world.
Leonardo DiCaprio is an intelligent individual and this can be see in his choice of movie roles and his rare interviews. For whatever reason the Academy agreed upon this being the ‘year of Leo’, it was most definitely a fitting tribute to both the magnificent talent that is Leonardo Dicaprio and to the voice of humanity. This was not just a message to people and world leaders, this was a message to planet earth letting her know not to worry, that Leo’s got her back.
Make your words count. KM.
We’d have to all agree it’s been a pretty average start to 2016 with the loss of not one, not two but three iconic voices. On January 10th, two days after his 69th birthday, the shocking news of David Bowie’s death spread like wildfire.
Less than a week later – before any of us got to catch our breath and process the passing of such an amazing artist – another cultural masterpiece joined the ranks when the marvelous Alan Rickman left us for a higher place.
And then yesterday to seal the deal, Glenn Frey, the voice of the Eagles let his wings soar and left the entertainment world reeling about another massive hole left by the departure of yet another icon.
I had a soft spot for all three of these artists and reading through all of the news articles, memes, quotes and old interviews what really stuck out was the power of their own words. Not lyrics from one of their songs, or a quote from a character in one of their movies, but their own words.
Words which were spoken in the purest form, not from a script but from the heart. Words that were spoken to fans on stage, to a journalist asking about their life, words that were spoken from a place that was true and it is beautiful to think that this is a part of the legacy they have left us to compliment their huge catalog of talent.
Here are my favourite quotes from the divine David Bowie, alluring Alan Rickman and glorious Glenn Frey:
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it wont be boring.” On stage at Madison Square Garden, 1997.
“I’m a star. Just add water and stir.”
“As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?”
“There’s a voice inside you that you tells you what to do.”
“Talent is an accident of genes – and a responsibility.”
“It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.”
“I’ve read somewhere that when you’re writing, you should stop while you’re doing well so you always want to go back to work.”
“My songs grow old on people – like warts.”
“Hey, I didn’t make a big deal out of Hotel California. The 18 million people that bought it did.”
Yes, the world will be a different place without their physical presence but these three brilliant chaps have all left a gift that will continue to keep on giving.
Through their music, their movies and their sheer existence, their words in whichever form they were spoken, have embedded themselves into our personal history and into our hearts reminding us that we can all in fact be heroes, even if for just one day.