Shannon’s Corner

My Conversation on Social Media

“Transparent, Vulnerable and Empathetic”

These three words are the credo of veteran television correspondent turned multimedia reporter Kevin Sites.  Regardless of what you may like or dislike about the content of his work, I think his credo provides insight into the new world of media we find ourselves.  He says we should be “Transparent, in that we tell people what we do and how we will do it. Vulnerable, in that we are human and we know we will make mistakes. And empathetic, in that whether we agree with our sources or not, we will treat them with respect.”

Mr. Sites’ philosophy sounds right. Although I imagine there are times, especially with much of the world at war or in conflict, where abiding by these three words can be a challenge for both those reporting and those receiving that news.

On the one hand, new media allows us an in-depth look at what it means to be “on the ground.”  We have come to expect transparency in the real time footage of war with both its struggles and successes. The use of new media and the formation of milblogging has never been done before and while we are eager for information, we may also want to box it up and put it away for later.  The realities of war are hard to deal with and it is also hard to admit we are all vulnerable.  

In WWII, you got a telegram once every few months and maybe you had a general idea of where your service member was and what they were doing.  Now, we see it, hear it and feel it both from the news and directly from them … in real time phone calls, video phone calls, emails, blogs, social networking sites or video.


Day-to-day I wonder, do Americans see too much of it now and so don’t care to be reminded every day?  Do we still have the empathy within us to see yet another story on the war and feel connected to family, friends, loved ones and our fellow Americans far from home?  Or do we have so much empathy that at some point we can’t take in any more “on the ground news” from the world of new media?


July 16, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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