May 1, 2008
Now that you know
The other evening I went and saw Lisa Ling speak locally. She is a Special Correspondent for the National Geographic Channel and Oprah Winfrey Show. Most people probably remember her as co-host of The View several years back. Lisa Ling spoke of her career and the progression of her career and how she got to where she is now. What an amazing career. She has been reporting since the age of 16 and she has covered some of the more complex and interesting stories from around the world. She has traveled to so many places and she has had more experiences than most people will have in a lifetime. She really brought light to the many stories and issues that take place around the world.
Her main message was that there is more going on in the world than what is happening here. Sometimes we have to look outside of our American lenses to learn about the newsworthy stories that are going on around the world but never end up on American “news.” People are interested in international stories, yet many newsworthy stories never appear on the “news.” The American news media would rather focus on Miley Cyrus’ photos in Vanity Fair than the gang-rape that occurs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the complex issues surrounding China’s one-child policy. Lisa Ling’s work for National Geographic and the Oprah Winfrey Show gives us stories that go beyond our backyard as well as stories that can be found within our country, such as the hidden and dangerous culture inside American prisons and the trafficking of young girls into American prostitution.
Her talk was very inspiring and really got me to thinking about my own world. I am so consumed by my own world and my own issues, that I fail to realize how there is so much more going on in the world and so much I can learn. I have the good fortune to have the Internet at my hands and I can easily learn more about issues that take place around the world. If I spent just a fraction of the time that I devote to reading the numerous blogs I frequent on reading one article on international news, maybe I would learn something about the world. Maybe I could learn more about humanity. She doesn't believe that Americans are apathetic in anyway, only that we are not afforded the opportunity through the media to learn about international issues and I think she is right about that. Our media sensationalizes many stories and dictates what stories is important news for Americans. Often times the news will continuously cover a story over and over again and people have no choice but to start to care and have an opinion on Britney Spear and Miley Cyrus. If our media spent just a little time on issues of substance, then people would care and have an opinion.
There is nothing wrong with living in your own world, but knowledge is power and with knowledge anything can happen. You never know, just by sharing the knowledge you have with others you may educate someone and maybe even prompt someone to take action. A little bit of knowledge can go a really long way.
"Now that you know, you can never say you didn’t know." - Lisa Ling