Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Restoring Trust in the News Media

Reporting the news objectively is nearly impossible. Journalists who claim to be objective are living in a dream world. There is no way Brian Williams, Katie Couric, and Charles Gibson are objective. No way.

Reporters and journalists claiming to be objective are a big reason people don't trust the news media these days. One recent national poll reported that only 55.9% of Americans surveyed expect the news media to tell them the truth. That's sad.

Here's an idea for improving trust in the news media from a guy lots of people trusted:
"I think any one worth his salt is for or against certain things. It's
going to come through if only in the selection of what goes on the air and what
goes into the wastebasket. So it seems more honest for me to call it 'Paul
Harvey News and Comment'. That way listeners know they're getting their
news from my perspective." -- Paul Harvey
I like it. Don't pretend to be objective. Be honest. Make your perspective clear. Reveal your biases and prejudices. It worked pretty well for Paul Harvey.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Glenn Beck is getting plenty of attention these days. It's largely because Glenn is on a mission. It resonates deep inside him. He views the mission as a duty. Glenn's mission fuels his passion, energy, excitement, creativity and commitment. It also drives his presentation. And, oh by the way, Glenn's mission also resonates with lots of other people, too.

Glenn begins nearly every episode of his program on Fox News Channel with a description of his mission. Here's an example from October 5:

"If you believe this country is great, but corruption is bringing us down,
it's time to stand. Come on and follow me.... I'm not a journalist.
I'm doing a job as a private citizen right now. It is the future of our
children and our grandchildren. So, it's a fight I ain't givin’ up.
If you're with me and you want to expose the corruption in Washington, you're
just a mom or grandparent, become a watchdog. I'm just a dad doing this
for my kids. Would you like to help?"
Glenn is not alone. Mission is one of the most important personal traits inherent in the best radio personalities. Mission is a sense of purpose beyond themselves, beyond fame and fortune. It can be as simple as "making people laugh every day" or as profound as "helping parents raise strong children". It's difficult to spend time every day with someone who is concerned only with themselves. The sense of mission helps make the best radio personalities real and durable over the long-term.

Oprah is another example of a personality on a mission who's done pretty well. Her mission is simple, but far-reaching. Oprah is dedicated to helping her viewers and listeners "live your best life". Everything Oprah does is driven by this mission. Watch her television show, read her magazine, or check out her website. "Live your best life" is everywhere.

I recently canceled my subscription to O Magazine (out of concern about over developing my feminine side). Yesterday, I received a letter from Oprah trying to convince me to renew. Here's what she wrote:

"O is a magazine designed to help you live your best life. Live your
truth. And live up to your limitless potential. O will get you to
think about your life: what is true for you; what you want, rather than just
what is wanted of you.

There's nothing we share in O that I haven't
gone through or continue to move through myself. I'm a woman in progress,
creating and striving for new dreams, new goals, new ideas. We each have
an exciting journey -- and O is nourishment for the trip. My hope is that
we can grow on our journey together -- and have fun along the way."

What's your mission? It begins with what really matters to you?

Glenn Beck fears that politicians and other people in power are corrupting the fundamental principles and values on which our country was founded. He's determined to help prevent this from happening.

Oprah is committed to discovering and living up to her full potential constantly creating and striving for new dreams, new goals, and new ideas. She's determined to live her best life and help others do the same.

Mission comes from inside you. It comes from what you do to make your life more interesting, meaningful, and fun. It comes from sharing the stuff that makes you laugh, marvel, or understand. It comes from a desire to give your listeners something each day that somehow makes their lives better.

Mission builds strong connections with listeners and is a driving force in the success of any radio personality. What is your mission? How do you make your listeners' lives noticeably better each day?