Saturday, January 20, 2018

Here's the Thing: This Is About Improving The Public Conversation

The Fair Media Council places a heavy emphasis on the need for the public to meet the media, not only to build relationships but to demystify the news process.

And that’s important because people distrust — or worse, fear — what they don’t understand. How the news media functions, why it chooses one story over another and what it decides not to cover are the types of decisions made inside newsrooms that the public has no way of knowing, and no way of understanding. From inside a newsroom, it’s often hard to fathom why explanations are necessary for such elemental components of the job — and therein lies the rub: What’s not seen as a big deal is actually vital to building a foundation of trust with today’s news consumer.

You can argue “it wasn’t like this in the old days,” and that’s indeed true. Counter-argument: The old days are long gone, as first cable news, then social media and now fake news pervades the public domain, watering down the ability of reputable news outlets to effectively tell stories that matter in an atmosphere of distrust.

To that point, a new study is out, illustrating the importance of providing the news consumer with an understanding of how media works. The Columbia Journalism Review reports on the findings, which simply underscores the need to address the growing chasm between the media and the public.

Here’s the thing: FMC, with great thanks to its members, sponsors, supporters, and speakers, has been bringing these issues to life through our programming for decades now, and the work is proving more vital than ever. The news media that participates in our programming, for the very reason of meeting and explaining the backstory of their jobs, illustrates the true commitment to public service is alive and well in the news business.

But what we also see is a public that needs to recognize the importance of becoming educated, and taking the time to go inside the news when given the opportunity. Too often that’s viewed as a job for the marketing department when, in fact, it’s a job for anyone who cares about the future of democracy.

– Jaci Clement, CEO & Executive Director, Fair Media Council

Here’s the Thing is a weekly commentary, first appearing in FMC’s newsletter. Sign up today.

Fair Media Council CEO & Executive Director Jaci Clement with media critic Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” at FMC’s 2015 Folio Awards luncheon, discussing his book and access on Rupert Murdoch.


Discussing the state of America’s news media at ‘The News Conference: Real & Powerful’ is FMC CEO Jaci Clement, WNET President & CEO Neal Shapiro and The Daily Beast Senior Editor and columnist for the New York Daily News, Harry Siegel.


At FMC’s 2017 “The News Conference: Real & Powerful,” Newsday & amNewYork’s Rita Ciolli, Farmingdale State College Prof. Tino Posillico, ABC7’s N.J. Burkett, RedLand Strategies’ Managing Partner Michael Balboni and WNYW/FOX5 Reporter Sharon Crowley discuss ‘Cyber Attack on America.’ The next Real & Powerful Conference will be held Nov. 27, 2018

The Fair Media Council advocates for quality news and works to create a media-savvy society in a media-driven world.

While our work takes us many places, we’re proud to be headquartered on Long Island, N.Y. We welcome businesses and nonprofits to join us, to strengthen our advocacy while supporting our work. As a nonprofit organization unlike any in the country, FMC thanks our members, sponsors and supporters for enabling our work to continue.

Alure Home Improvements’ Sal Ferro, Longtime News12 Anchor Drew Scott, Council for Unity’s Robert DeSena, Long Island Cares’ Paule Pachter and (not pictured) Rep. Tom Suozzi talk about “What Happened to the Promise of Suburbia” at “The News Conference: Real & Powerful.” Photos by Bob Giglione


The Fair Media Council takes the public beyond the soundbite, educating people on the news process, along with current events, while bringing the media together with community leaders who influence the public conversation and have the power to find solutions to problems uncovered by the press.  Serving as a bridge between the public and the media, FMC provides information, opinions, and forums to improve the quality of the public conversation.

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