The mainstream media at large primarily utilizes the art of persuasion with carefully crafted sound-bites and eye-catching visuals (rarely conveying a message’s true meaning) in an attempt to influence our beliefs and behavior. It has become more prescriptive than descriptive, and inconspicuously shapes our perceptions of the world and the discussions we have with our neighbors. Most often, the important issues are watered-down, dramatized, or simply left off the agenda to provide more time and space for the communication of predetermined values and for the tailoring of public opinion.
Since June 2009, Ferndale resident Crystal A. Proxmire has been reporting independently on local issues that affect our lives in her online publication The Ferndale 115. Though up against what she calls “the corporate monopolization of information,” she has seen her readership grow, and hopes to soon take on a staff of writers that understands the shortcomings of corporate media and are willing to contribute to a healthy alternative—one without a bottom line standing in the way of proper storytelling.
“Mainstream media is failing because for years they have answered to the dollar rather than to the principles of educating their readers,” says Proxmire. “Our ultimate focus has been on the readers, and our efforts to connect readers and local business owners.”
Most notably, fear and gossip keep us tuned in and the ad revenue rolling, and especially on television, stories about crime and scandal greatly outnumber positive ones and often lead to confusion and lack of confidence. “I want people to really understand things like how their government works, or the power of positive thinking, or how to connect with others in the community… I want to show all the good that is happening in the city so that people can feel encouraged to do good and get involved.
A good community paper shows how we are all connected. Our goal is to ‘inform, inspire and unite,’ not just to sell ads,” she says. “I’m not sure how this will play out for the future of Ferndale, or for our country, but I hope that true independent media will find ways to have their work supported.”
Inform yourself, inspire positive change and unite with others by visiting ferndale115.com.
10.06.10 / Real Detroit Weekly