This year’s theme is incredibly relevant to each and every one of us and our world today. We all interact with media every day; we watch the morning news, listen to the radio in our cars, chat with friends online and read news articles in both paper and digital formats. This constant exposure to media influences us, whether we are aware of it or not. It has the power to entertain us, the power to upset us and the power to inspire us. Media is already ingrained as a regular part of our lives, so imagine what type of impact we could have on the world if we all used our unlimited access to media constructively. We must also be careful of media’s power and not turn into “slacktivists” – a term often coined to the act of simply clicking a button to support a cause, and then assume that our work to improve the world is complete.
This year’s theme, “Changing Worlds: Media’s Power and Influence,” is incredibly large in scope. However, WorldLink interns have divided it into five subcategories to make the information easier to digest and enjoy. The subcategories focus on topics like the evolution of media, the relationship between government and media, and the role of media in the humanitarian world. The articles themselves are also very diverse. Some are more factual, such as those that document changes in media consumption, and some are more emotionally charged, such as the articles that discuss media’s role in portraying genocide, homelessness and natural disasters. In addition, the articles discuss the power of media from different perspectives. We can see the way a media mogul views the media revolution as compared to a national government or a humanitarian worker. These nuances are what make the topic of global media so controversial.
You will notice as you browse through the Reader that media has many facets. There is not one sole definition or use. In Nepal and Haiti, radio is the definition of media, and it is used for information broadcasts in everyday life and for relief in times of crisis. In Egypt and Moldova, social networking is the media source of choice, and it has been used to plan riots fighting for governmental change. Media is constantly evolving. It cannot be pinned down by a single definition or explanation.
Throughout the editing process, I have been confronted with questions that I thought I knew the answers to. For example, can government censorship be good? I would have answered in the negative. Then I read articles about governments that censor religious statements in an effort to prevent domestic conflicts, and I asked myself again, can government censorship be good? Perhaps. I hope that as you read through these articles you discover something that challenges your preconception of an issue, and I hope that you respond to this challenge. Investigate a topic. Ask yourself a question.
Your answer may not be easy to find, but the solutions to our world problems do not have simple answers.
Marian Dorst, La Jolla High School
WorldLink 2012 Fall Intern