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FOR ONE BRIEF DAY: The first crocus blooms of the season peek out during the 15 minutes of spring so far this year in Cache Valley. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

April 3, 2009

Self-Loathing or "Objectivity"?

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies "says the news media, in general, don't do a good enough job of telling the world its good news," says National Public Radio ombudperson Alicia C. Shepard.

"We do a HORRIBLE job covering our successes. Horrible. And there are consequences: 1.) The public thinks all we do is screw up. 2.) Folks under-appreciate the role of good journalism. 3.) No one even recognizes good journalism when they see it. 4.) And we tend to underestimate our own ability to change the world."

--Kelly McBride, ethics specialist, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, discussing how NPR and other news media do and don't report their successes, yesterday (Thanks to alert WORDster Colleen Almeida of the Tulsa World)

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PostSecret founder finds confessions spread healing

By Jason Sanders

April 3, 2009 | The nearly 1,000 people who congregated in the Taggart Student Center’s Ballroom Wednesday night included locals, some who traveled from Salt Lake and one individual who came from as far as New York. As diversified as the group was each person came with one thing in common—a secret.

And they came to the right place, for the first words out of author Frank Warren’s mouth were, “My name is Frank, and I collect secrets.”

Warren is the mastermind behind PostSecret—an innovative art project where people anonymously mail Warren their secrets on homemade postcards. And his presentation Wednesday led for an evening of compassion and humanity.

Warren started his speech by sharing some of his favorite postcards. These confessions came from all types of people: disgruntled employees, lovers in love, the lonely. And the messages they conveyed brought out an array of emotions. For example, one airline industry employee sent in a secret saying “You called me an idiot, so I sent your bags to the wrong destination. Whoops! I guess you were right.” While another card read, “I’m tired of taking pills to make me feel better.”

It seems that the rawness of these secrets brings a touch of humanity to those who hear them. As Warren presented, a strong sense of camaraderie and compassion swept through the audience. With that trust, Warren pointed out what he believes is America’s secret: suicide. He believes suicide is preventable, and large portions of the PostSecret profits are donated to suicide prevention charities.

Toward the end of the night Warren told the audience, “Free your secrets and become who you are.” And with that he turned the spotlight over to the crowd. Several “confession-bearers” stepped to the microphone and in a moment of self-discovery revealed to the outside the hidden parts of their inner lives. Tears were shed, laughter was expressed, but their words shall remain in that room -- for after all they did share a secret.

Warren has been collecting secrets for more than four years. Since then he has composed four PostSecret books, with an additional on the way. He also posts secrets weekly on his blog at www.postsecret.com.

KS
MS

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