Friday, April 20, 2007

TLA 2007 Conference Notes, Day 2: Second General Session with Lynn Sherr

Ms. Sherr began her talk by talking about passion. Her new book is Outside the Box, and it is about the television news. In the public mind, television trumps reality every time according to Ms. Sherr. (As soon as I get a copy of the book, I will put up a booknote assuming it is a good book. Hmm, looks like my local public library has it. )

Thoughts and remarks:

  • Events can be relived in print after they are experienced.
  • Women and minorities in news organizations assures us that they and their interests are represented. It was women who advocated for stories on topics like breast cancer and violence against women.
  • The point is that network news have changed. It used to be networks had the power. Blogs now bypass this. Today, news and opinion are delivered instantly on the Internet. As a result, news standards decline as there is a higher tolerance for errors and there is less editing.
  • The box can dislocate reality. It sometimes obscures and exaggerates. Today, the media follows; it does not lead.
  • Stepping out of the box means at times to speak the unspeakable.
  • Eggs get scrambled, so get used to it. (This was her answer to the question of women balancing work and the family life). Today, women's place is everywhere.
  • A feminist believes that women have the same rights and responsibilities as men, nothing more and nothing less. Men are not the enemy, and women are not the only solution. (This was said in answering why women hate to be labeled as feminists. It is her definition of a feminist. A nice definition in my view; I especially like it adds the word "responsibility" since I believe equality means the rights and the responsibilities. I also like it is inclusive.)
  • The stories that Ms. Sherr is interested in are not the ones that the administration in the news wants. She is proud that she did not cover the Anna Nicole Smith story. But you have to keep pushing the boundaries.
  • TV and newspapers won't go away, but things have changed. Journalism is telling the truth in whatever medium it takes to get the story out.
  • We still need storytellers.

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