Search This Blog

Friday, November 30, 2012

Is there a place for opinion in traditional media?

I recently wrote a decidedly snarky article for the University of Winnipeg's weekly newspaper, the Uniter. My editor gave me free reign to do with it as I pleased, and so I wrote it with what I thought was a goofy, fun tone. It was for the Culture section of the paper, which can consist of lighter, opinion-based pieces with a focus on the writer's voice, rather than the hard leads of the News section or the stats and scores of Sports.

The Uniter Volume 67, Number 13.

The thing is, not everyone gets my sense of humor. And that's okay! I figured the label of the 'culture' header would alert those who read it not to take it seriously - it's just me trying (probably too hard) to be funny.

That's not how human nature works, though. When we read something that strikes us, we don't step back and contextualize it. And why would we? If we take offense to something, it's hard to forgive it based on its context.

Given that a lot of people consume their news these days online, article by article, instead of sitting down and reading a paper from front to back, is it still worth it to separate 'news' and 'opinion'? Are we setting ourselves up for disaster and mixed messages if someone reads a a column or opinion piece - without seeing it within the context of its section - and interprets it as news?

Even then, though - if someone interprets something the way it's meant to be interpreted they have every right to be offended. Just because we might rub someone the wrong way, should we still censor ourselves? As long as we're not spouting hate speech, can we say whatever we want and run the risk of hurting peoples' feelings?

Anyway. What do you think? Is there a place for columns and opinion pieces in traditional media, or should people like me keep snarkiness for the safety of our own personal social media sites (or just keep it to ourselves)?

"I'm just second hand news I'M JUST SECOND HANDS NEEWWWSS!" (I'll take any excuse to post some Fleetwood Mac)

No comments:

Post a Comment