Monday, Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, it’s a time to pull out the red ribbons and unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Like Breast Cancer Awareness in October and American Heart month in February (to coincide with Valentine’s Day), stars come out and make a big to-do over the disease of the month. Not surprisingly, the media jumps on the bandwagon and delights in writing about all of the activities taking place on that special day.
What many in the media fail to acknowledge, or write about, are the people working in the trenches day-after-day hoping that what they do will make a difference. They are the researchers who must fight for every scrap of funding they receive in hopes that one day they will discover a cure. They are the volunteers who work behind the scenes to make sure those in need get assistance. They are the fundraisers who work day and night to raise money to ensure that their organization is around tomorrow to continue the fight.
They don’t do it for the recognition; they do it because it’s a cause in which they believe. Sadly, most of these dedicated souls will never get the chance to tell their story, because if it doesn’t come with a bucket of ice cubes, a half-naked man with a six-pack to die for, or a big celebrity name with an even bigger celebrity bottom, the media simply isn’t interested.
For three decades I have worked both sides of the media fence -- both as a journalist and as a public relations professional. Sensationalism continues to be the name of the game – the adage “if it bleeds, it leads” continues to be true. Even the so-called “good news,” as reported by the Huffington Post, is filled with little more than cute puppies wearing Disney costumes or the delightful Golden Retriever who goes on a rampage during an obedience competition.
The true “good news” is happening every day at nonprofit organizations in our own backyard. We often read about voter apathy, and reader apathy, but what about journalist apathy?
Gimmicks are great, but the real news is in the trenches. It’s time to get back to the basics and for reporters to write about more than just what is trending on Twitter or YouTube.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. She has written for local, state and national publications. Her clients include attorneys, non-profit organizations and healthcare professionals.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.