Must the media publish details of emotional, painful tragedies?

Letters for Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kamloops Daily News
December 19, 2012 01:00 AM

I read Robert Koopmans' column (Hard To Explain Life, Death And Risks, The Daily News, Dec. 15) with some trepidation.

You ask how we explain the recent tragedies to a 13-year-old girl. How about telling her the truth about the media that you work for, the political leaders that govern this country and the influence peddlers that see Victoria as an ATM machine, and leave it at that? The fact that she did ask you what happened and why shows your 13-year-old child understands more than you think. You owe her an honest answer and here is why.

As editor you are the conduit - and I would even suggest in many cases an accomplice - in wars, crimes, and corruption in our society. Mainstream media that does not tell the truth about world events, national and provincial politics and community wellness is as guilty as the perpetrator. When the media manipulates for benefit they compromise our children's and your daughter's future.

Reporting the news ethically will make your daughter and Kamloops safe, and I would suggest our province and nation as well. You have a position of privilege and influence, but that privilege should come with responsibility to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

This past week you reported emotively on two local tragedies. Was it really necessary to magnify the pain for the family and community with the details? It seems to me that you are not interested in the effect of your words or the truth of them, but you are more interested in the attention that your articles will generate.

My criticism of your reporting is not a question of freedom of speech and freedom of the press but it is a question about ethical reporting and how it influences your reader. Without ethical reporting our society will not become more gentle, caring and self-correcting.

You reprinted articles from the Associated Press on the shootings in Newtown, Conn. What possible benefit was there for the authors to rank the body count in this tragic event to past tragedies? You know ranking is just a red flag for copycats.

What was your objective in augmenting these events since we already hold the magnitude of the loss to the families and friends in our hearts?

If it was an attempt to caution us with detail, fair enough, but make the detail relevant rather than personal.

Do you read this stuff before you print it, or have you become insensitive to your power to influence sorrow and rage, or do you care?

You have lost your moral compass if Newtown does not make you sick of the gun lobby when they argue, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

If you don't see your responsibility in dispelling this myth you are an accomplice to it, and we will be reading about such senseless acts many times over. If you are not willing to report ethically and tell the truth to your daughter and society, it's time that legislation is enacted to make you legally responsible for your words or lack of them.

Sure enough, sick people do sick things and when guns are readily available the consequences can be devastating. Caring, loving, peaceful people do not use guns or any other weapons, (except perhaps as a last-resort tool for food gathering). It is obvious that the gun lobby is anything but caring, loving and peaceful.



Nurse practitioners offer necessary medical service

I was delighted to read this morning's letter on nurse practitioners in The Daily News (Nurse Practitioners Have Much To Offer Health Care, Dec. 10).

I was introduced to the concept of nurse practitioners when I moved to Kamloops two years ago and was lucky enough to get a doctor in town who subscribed to utilizing them in his office.

It's been a wonderful experience to have 30 minutes, if it's needed, to spend with a highly qualified health professional to discuss health issues.

It is rare that a physician has that space of time to discuss your health issue, let alone get your perspective on treatment solutions. The nurse practitioner knows exactly when a patient may need to see a doctor or specialist and they ensure that the appointment is initiated for you in a timely fashion.

I can only imagine less-harried physicians if they would allow nurse practitioners to deal with non-crisis, general medical visits one makes to a clinic. Two thumbs up for our nurse practitioners.



Show gratitude to keep workers

I happen to know that in our current construction trades industry, if you fail to recognize your loyal employees in today's construction trades, then you may well be saying farewell to an important member of the team.

It is the trades -­­ offering en­­­­d-of-the-year Christmas parties and bonuses along with a similar wage - that may lure away what used to be your loyal employee.



B.C.'s debt growing

The provincial debt is a growing problem that needs to be brought under control. Surely we should be able to entrust that to our elected representatives.

If we cannot entrust this basic need to our elected representatives why should we think that it will be properly performed by a special branch of government?

Our political parties need to address this problem themselves rather than recommending it be done by imposing more costs on the taxpayer.



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