I've refrained from publicly criticising media about disability representation for a long time, but when people wonder why people feel disconnected from mainstream media, I have to say something.
Yes, I understand it's hard to do something when you have to meet the metrics or the deadlines. I have spent the last 12 months helping people understand how the media works, so I'm doing my best to defend an underresourced profession.
But it's hard for me to defend media when I see articles on a regular basis glorifying inspiration porn for people with disabilities or even worse, tell me that my own condition doesn't exist and it's a Big Pharma conspiracy.
It's easy to forget the elephant in the room: that these frustrated people are creating their own media and talking to each other and making change for themselves where they can. Journalists no longer have total control of distribution and media creation. They still have trusted brand value, but that's eroding.
Unfortunately a lot of journalists react defensively and plead their public interest value, rather than take it as a wake-up call. When a substantial percentage of people feel more comfortable with news and content from self-created outlets rather than the media outlets that are supposed to represent them, we are in serious trouble. The sacred cow of newsworthiness has to be re-evaluated. And no, I'm not talking about anti-vaxxers. I'm talking about people like me who are smart and critical about the news but have found it lacking. It's easy to focus on the loony fringes but the silent middle ground have nuanced views that get overlooked.
How to solve this problem? It's a work in progress for me. The greatest weakness for many journalists is not knowing how to make an income based on the value of their journalism skills outside of an employer framework. Luckily, I've got that figured out for now. I've paid journalists for work done for me. A good chunk of my income comes from me playing to my journalism strengths applied to a different context. So I'm taking action, not just talking.
Whether or not my fortunes change, my message will remain the same: get out of the media bubble and spend some serious time in a different industry and community where people don't give a shit about the current media. They need the news, but just not in the way that it's being delivered right now. Image may contain: 1 person, smiling