Fixing News Instead of Breaking News

Fixing News Instead of Breaking News

What would our world be like if we had fixing news instead of breaking news?

This thought hit me while I was watching a commercial for a TV news station. Flashing on the screen were graphic and tragic scenes that happened in peoples’ lives around the world. The news anchors were talking about how they were there when things happen – busy getting us the information we need to know. They were selling to viewers that they were informed, dependable and the go-to-station for all the breaking news.

If it Bleeds, it Leads

And there is something heartbreaking about that. Their commercial featured shot after shot of someone else’s pain. Someone’s bad memories were getting thrown up repeatedly on TV Land to encourage people to watch their program. If it bleeds, it leads. If it bleeds, it sells commercials. Should we care how this impacts the person who did the bleeding? Who could still be bleeding?

Important to Be Informed

Now, I think it is important to know what’s going on in the world. If there are injustices or problems highlighted for all to see, then people can take action and work to make a difference. Investigative journalism is the ideal, but it’s harder to come by these days. The legalese and paper trail of corruption doesn’t look as good on screen as a house on fire.

News is Business

News is supposed to be the unbiased, unvarnished truth of what’s happening in our world. But news stations are businesses. They need to advertise and to have good ratings. They need people to tune in and stay tuned. This impacts the stories they follow.

There is always a bias because of the need to ‘sell’ their news shows. A bias towards the sensational. A bias that makes the pain of others a product to sell. And there is something scary about that. We are the consumers who supposedly want this and are eating it up. A crunchy bowl of Newsios. But is it good for us?

Observers Only?

News crews film as ‘witnesses’ to what is happening. We, the ‘audience’, sit at home and watch these snippets of pain happening around the globe. But are we doing anything about it? Or are we feeling overwhelmed by all the terrible things happening in our world? Have we become a culture of “snap it and post it” to get the most hits – and nothing else?

Alternate Universe with Fixing News Stations

What if things were different? What if we lived in a world with fixing news stations that not only looked at a problem, but worked on solving that problem right away. It could be as simple as bringing blankets, food and other supplies to people in need after an earthquake or a bomb. Or maybe it would mean a team of the best problem solvers in the world being flown in to see what they could do to make things better with regards to a more complex or controversial issue. Their process would be recorded and shared with the public. The public would be invited to get involved.

I know a lot of our problems are systemic and would require something like an international overhaul of how we do business, yet the concept of a fixing news station just makes me smile. I’d love a news station that was a beacon of change – that showed we don’t have to be passive observers. Instead of just watching things break, why not fix things? I imagine a station that is making the world better, one news story at a time.

Twist of Coil in Analog Blog

Twist of Coil in Analog

I had to put in Analog blog – it rhymed. I’m rhyming because I’m excited like green eggs and ham, oh yes I am! My story ‘Twist of Coil’ is in the December 2014 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. My author’s copies came in the mail, and I ripped open the package like it was the best Christmas gift ever (because it is!).

CXXXIV is 134

There on page 72, in Volume CXXXIV No. 12, is my story. It’s so amazing to see my name and work featured in such an esteemed magazine. I couldn’t be more honored. My story is in the hallowed pages of the great granddaddy of science fiction magazines. Woohoo!

Astound5006A Little Analog History Goes a Long Way

Analog started out back in 1930 and has had a few name changes along the way such as Astounding (which it still is J). On Asimov’s Science Fiction webpage, Analog is listed as “the longest-running (almost)-continuously published science fiction magazine in the world.”

Sci-Fi Big Times

Big names in science fiction like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson and Spider Robinson have had their stories in Analog. This magazine was also the first to print classics like Frank Herbert’s Dune and Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. To be associated with such a well-established science-fiction publication is such an amazing privilege. This December issue is definitely Christmas come early for me.

The Spooky Truth of Being a Writer Mom

The Spooky Truth of Being a Writing Mom

I know Halloween is over, but it’s still on my brain as I keep scarfing down chocolates and candies. Here are my thoughts about what it means to be a writer – ugly guts and all.

 

Evil Mastermind Commitment to Evil

ReaperFor a long time I treated my writing more as a hobby, so it kept getting shunted to last priority. I had all these great ideas, but they weren’t on paper. An evil mastermind needs to do more than just hatch devious plans; she needs to make them happen. I had to commit to getting my diabolic plots typed up for others to read. So I could unleash them on the world! Bwhaha!

 

Mad Scientist Work Schedule

I had to cram writing into every tiny crevice of time I could find. I’d look at my day planner and see I had a one-hour window. I’d set the clock and spew out whatever I could. It wasn’t pretty – but at least it was out there. Like a good mad scientist, I could cut and hack parts I didn’t like. I could come up with new shady characters and painful plot twists for my shoddy first draft creations. I could take that really ugly baby and make it into something people would want to pick up and love. Or at least it had a face only a mother could love.

 

Vampire Hours

vampire teethWith work and kids, I often find the day a hard time to accomplish much. For example, I see all the things that need to get done around the house. Some days of procrastination have the byproduct of a very clean house. I love kids, but they tend to want things from me often…all day long. (I find getting interrupted throws my train of thought that often hadn’t left the station any way – but that’s getting off track now. :))

So I’ve adopted vampire hours to work on writing, depending on my workload the next day. The window of time somewhere between 10-2 is the time I have as my own. The sweet creatures that would scream my name are sleeping. And in the dark the mess doesn’t look so bad. I’d find myself a dark corner where it’s quiet and let the writing bug sink its fangs into me.

Zombie Mom

zombie momThere, of course, is a price to pay. If I stay up too late and too often I become Zom Mom. That’s right, I risk becoming the dreaded Zombie mom. That means walking into doors by accident and feeling foggy-headed. Need more brains! Need more brains! So I have to balance out getting sleep, even if that means sneaking in an afternoon nap.

I would try to use sleep-deprivation as a learning opportunity. I would tell my kids how important sleep is and use myself as an example. See how cranky  and clumsy I am? Why do you think that is? That’s right, I didn’t get enough sleep. It’s early to bed for everyone.

 

house work out of handHaunted House

The other byproduct of spending every free moment writing, is that I would do little work around the house. Yes, I’ve allowed actual cobwebs to grow and multiply in my house. I told myself that would help provide ambiance while I wrote late at night. Mountains of laundry grew! Dirty dishes piled up! The horror! My housework has gotten out of hand.

So I can let that go for awhile, but eventually I need to do a major exorcism and clean the house up.

Ghost Writer

ghostThe other thing I find when I get on a serious writing jag is that I become less social. My brain is so busy scheming disasters and dealing with dubious characters that I’m not quite in the real world any more. It’s like a ghost of me is walking around and doing all the social things I’m supposed to. I’m so busy in my story world that I keep finding my mind floating away to it.

So, in order for me to write, I do have to be monstrously dedicated. It means I have a mad scientist schedule to follow and it often means writing late at night. This can lead to being zombie-like in my day-to-day interactions and a house of horrors as far as laundry and dishes are concerned. When I’m all into my writing, sometimes it means I have trouble switching gears back into the world of the living. This is the scary truth o writing in the real world.

I do my best to stay balanced, but a little unbalance goes a long way. Need more brains! Need more brains!