We Have a Growing Communication Gap

Here's the Thing - Commentary by Jaci Clement, Fair Media Council
Long Island has a growing communication gap, and it impacts you more than you realize. communication gap. communication gap.


Steve Israel, a former congressman, penned a commentary for Newsday this past week, offering his experience in how Congress is clueless in meeting the needs of Long Island.

Seems our reputation for hosting glittery parties in the Hamptons leads others to believe our streets are paved with gold and our sand sparkles with diamond dust.

We take no issue with Israel’s assessment. In fact, we applaud him for taking the time to put pen to paper on the issue. But here’s the thing: Long Island needs to do its fair share in solving this perception problem, which results in a disproportionate amount of taxes taken from this community.

The island’s geography leads people to believe what’s news on Long Island is news everywhere. So not so. Simply step into Manhattan — or cross over into Queens — to see how little people know about what’s happening to the east.

The message of what Long Island needs isn’t being heard beyond borders, and the problem is only going to deepen, as we’re looking at an increasingly fragmented and changing media landscape. Every time a news outlet is bought, sold or changes format, it has a distinct impact on where news is delivered and made available. What’s in Newsday won’t resonate in Albany and Washington, D.C. today the way it did years ago, for one simple reason: It’s now, like many papers, a subscription-based information source. The information doesn’t flow freely beyond our borders, which is what created headaches for people who deserved them the most.

In short: The message is muted like never before, and the ramifications are huge.

The lesson for advocates and change agents is simply this: Change your game plan. If you need to get Albany’s attention, you need to speak with media outlets that are heard in Albany. Same, too, with D.C.-based outlets. Of course, this also means you need to learn how to tailor the message accordingly, with the type of perspective that ensures people understand what happens on Long Island, often happens here first, before it rolls out and reaches across the country.

— Jaci Clement
CEO & Executive Director
Fair Media Council

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