Positive power: Despite levels of mistrust, media can be a force for good

Published: Thursday, June 14 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"It's important to write about problems, but it's not the only thing to write about," Fagan said in an interview with Rachel Signer of dowser.org. "There's an institutional or industrial attitude that writing happy stories is sappy. They are seen as 'puff pieces.' The trick is … writing about something that's useful and informative rather than puffy and dippy."

For eight days in 2010, Deseret News journalist Scott Taylor and photographer Jeff Allred covered post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, documenting the delivery of life-saving food, water, and blankets from the LDS Church to a community hospital in Port-au-Prince. They followed the work of volunteer LDS physicians and nurses who traveled to Haiti to provide critical medical care. Taylor's articles describe how church meetinghouses were converted into first aid clinics while the grounds outside the chapels became spiritual and temporal shelters for Haitians who had lost their homes. Despite the tragedy, Taylor came away uplifted.

"Yes, we missed attending Sunday church meetings," Taylor said in Church News retrospective. "But we didn't miss witnessing true religion in action."

Elder Gifford Nielsen, an Area Seventy, former NFL quarterback and sports broadcaster, said the mass media can be a tremendous friend to truth and goodness. When information about the LDS Church is accurately reported, it can reach many more people than two missionaries going door to door. He cited recent articles in the Houston Chronicle and Washington Post as examples.

"The power of the media can be beneficial to the growth of the church, and the brethren understand that. That's why I think you are seeing such an emphasis on church websites and other media tools. Look at the Bible videos," Elder Nielsen said. "You are having people go to the media like never before."

It's all about making a difference in people's lives by sharing stories that promote faith, hope and charity, Rascon summarized.

"What I try to gather from these places I report from are those stories that will somehow reach the public in a different way and be motivating and inspiring," he said. "That's my hope, that's my dream."

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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