On his blog, this Trenton-based journalism major/ photographer aims to share his "writing ability" and "engage the world through words" while sparking conversation. I applaud Herrod for his efforts. From reviewing his website, I see that Harrod also seeks to bring information to the public that they would not ordinarily have access to.
Indeed, Harrod does bring something new to the table by raising thought-provoking questions to his readers. As a case in point, in one of his blog entries, the Trenton-based blogger raises the question, "how does [newspaper] content shape the perceptions of those who do not live or have never been to Trenton?” In other words: Is the local news of Trenton helping to frame people as only savages, immoral, and/or very hostile people?"
Here, I think Harrod raises an important question that highlights the power and impact of the media. Indeed, what media outlets report to the public, whether good or bad, sometimes gets taken as indisputable gospel, when in reality that information should be examined through a critical or skeptical lens. As a case in point, one day while I was at the library a few weeks ago, a gentleman next to me said that former South African president Nelson Mandela died, when in reality, he didn't. The young man based his conclusion on information received through Facebook. The point here being, with today's media and the saturation of the Internet, one has to take what one reads with a grain of salt and be critical consumers of information. Otherwise, if you don't, you may take what you're hearing or reading as the truth, when it is not.
As one looks at Trenton news, sure, there is bad news to report and I recognize where certain members of the media are coming from, but come on, let's be real. We're not living in Beirut, this is Trenton. Sadly enough, this city sometimes get painted as "Big Trouble" when in my humble opinion, it is not. These kinds of news reports do not paint a complete picture of the city of Trenton.
I think other people are beginning to see this trend in larger society as well. They are not satisfied. According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “nearly one-third—31% of people say they have deserted a particular news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they have grown accustomed to”. The study went on to report that 60.7 of the people polled find that the stories are less complete than they used to be". In other words, people are not satisfied with the media outlets currently available.
This is why I think that it is important to have bloggers like Harrod that present a counter-narrative to what the mainstream media offers. Indeed, reality is more nuanced than viewing Trentonians as mere scoundrels and hoodlums. Trentonians are doing great things everyday, this should not be glossed over or overlooked.
And with that said, I think we are in store for more thought-provoking commentary from Harrod, you can visit his website by clicking here.