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Editors' picks: Most impactful national values in the media stories from 2013

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 1:28 a.m. MST

Knowing the ins and outs of popular culture has never been my strong suit. I turn to my wife to understand the broader context, such as when I was editing a story on the increasing trend, in movies and TV shows, of sympathy toward the villain.

The piece, "What happens when the bad guys are the good guys," expanded on popular characters like Don Draper in "Mad Men," Walter White in "Breaking Bad," and an impending Disney movie, "Maleficient," that will tell the "Sleeping Beauty" story from the perspective of the evil queen.

Talking about the good and the bad in this trend, my wife and I traced it back to the 2003 Broadway hit show "Wicked," which gave voice to the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz.

The positive of this teaches empathy for another in trying to understand a person whose actions are, we believe, bad. The negative is the very narrow line from analyzing and understanding evil to accepting and embracing it.

That's one reason that article focused so strongly on the way our culture tells stories to children, and to young adults and to grown-ups. For each stage of our lives, different aspects of art have different touchstone meanings for us. That's why it's important to grow, gradually, into our appreciation for multi-dimensional characters.

The Deseret News' coverage of values in the media permeates many of the subjects that resonate most deeply in our technology-laden society, including the perils of cyberbullying. As with the football coach in Roosevelt, Utah, who suspended his entire team, adults can have an influence on kids by putting competition aside and encouraging service over selfishness.

As so many kids have access to internet technology, our culture faces increased strain from their easier access to pornography. Our three-part series on the personal and societal costs of pornography broke new ground that may be causing others voices nationally to wake up to the changes for relationships and values being caused by pornography consumption.

The turmoil faced by teenagers almost makes one want to turn into a gripping young adult novel or movie derivation including blockbusters such as the Hunger Games, "Ender's Game" or the Harry Potter series. In each of these works, the adults have disappointed the children of the world. It falls on the younger generation to right the wrongs that have been done to them and make the word anew.

--Drew Clark, Deseret News

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