Deseret News best of 2012: Values in the media

Published: Thursday, Dec. 27 2012 12:27 a.m. MST

Associated Press
As the Values in the Media reporter for the Deseret News throughout 2012, an aspect of my work I thoroughly enjoyed was the opportunity to write about movies that not only shined a bright light on vexing social problems, but also offered rays of hope and practical solutions for a better tomorrow.  

Three films in particular — two documentaries and a drama — stand out in my mind for their ability to persuasively spur social awareness.


At the Sundance Film Festival in January, I screened a documentary called “Finding North” that magnifies the plight of 49 million Americans — including 17 million children — who are underfed.


“The foundational premise of ‘Finding North’ is that one in six Americans doesn't get enough to eat on a regular basis,” I wrote. “(The film) highlights the herculean work of churches, charities and food banks to ameliorate the effects of hunger in America. However, directors Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson contend food insecurity is a problem so pervasive in the U.S. that the only tenable solution is a grass-roots movement aimed at sparking greater government involvement.”


A couple months later, the documentary “Bully” spurred me to take a long look at the emotionally destructive nature of bullying among adolescents and teens. In that article, Lori Jones, the counseling and guidance coordinator for Canyons School District in Utah, shared with me five practical suggestions parents can employ to curb bully behavior.


Then in September, I interviewed Oscar-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and Walden Media president Micheal Flaherty for my story about “Won’t Back Down."


The film is an inspired-by-true-events drama in which parents and teachers join forces to improve the performance of a failing public elementary school.


For me, covering “Finding North,” “Bully” and “Won’t Back Down” illustrated how the Deseret News' emphasis on values in the media can broaden discussion, shine a light on difficult issues and provide potential solutions to difficult issues.

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