MEDIA COMMENTARY: New Year to Find the Good, by MTSU Professor Larry Burriss

Jan 02, 2023 at 09:54 pm by WGNS News

It’s a New Year for fresh start’s and it’s time to find the good news within life. With today’s media commentary, here is MTSU Professor Larry Burriss…


Verbatim: As the new year begins, I’ve seen lots of stories about how bad 2022 was.  But I have to think things weren't as bad as the news media sometimes portrayed.

And even when there is bad news, however, I think we need to remember that every time there is a disaster, a killing or a crime, there is generally some good news to be found.

Another point here, as I have mentioned before, is that the audience, the news consumers, the readers, listeners and viewers have a responsibility to take stock of what they see and hear.

What this means is that we need to examine all aspects of a story that deals with bad news, and realize that there are also some good elements there.

Let’s take the case of the recent killer storms that recently swept across the country.  No one will deny these were very real, very heart-rending tragedies.  What possible good news can there be in such human suffering? Plenty.

There were people who were rescued.  There were successful relief efforts. Anonymous people responded to the tragedy by providing food, shelter and medical care.

This is certainly not to downplay the extent of the suffering. This is not to downplay the misery.

What it does say, however, is that there are people out there who care, and we should realize they are there.  When we see a picture of rescue workers trying to save someone, we can, and should, be concerned for their lives, but we also need to applaud the efforts to save them. 

Now, to be sure, we don’t need to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, nor let our optimism blind us to human suffering and degradation.  Yes indeed, there are bad people in the world, and we must always keep that in mind.

But, I also firmly believe there is a good side to those tragedies, and the media has a responsibility to tell us those sides of the stories too.

At the end of our ride through life, the pessimist may be proved right, But the optimist will have a better time on the trip. - I'm Larry Burriss.”

About Dr. Burriss - Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.



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