I live four hours north-west of UM, in Sarasota. Each time I drive home, I must travel through the cities of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte that were ravaged by hurricane Charley. As I drove from Sarasota back to UM at the end of our month-long winter break, I once again drove through two cities that made national news about five months ago.
Much has occurred in our nation and throughout the world since hurricane Charley touched land in southwest Florida. President Bush was elected to a second presidential term, a tsunami devastated Southeast Asia and Iraq successfully held democratic elections, to name a few major events.
As November rolled in, the hurricane season finally blew out to sea. The various news broadcast networks now had other current events to report on rather than hurricanes. The media spotlight was turned off in southwest Florida just when those without homes began their rebuilding process.
Five months after hurricane Charley disappeared from Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, do Americans realize that light posts on I-75 are still bent in half? Or that piles of rubble the size of a two-story house still exist where houses once stood? Five months from now, will all of the victims of the Southeast Asia tsunami be identified? Will all of the structures be rebuilt? Will anyone remember these tragedies or even care?
Although the hurricane and tsunami left different death tolls, the harsh reality of each of their effects are equally felt by those directly affected. The news broadcast media subjugates these once major news events until they are replayed for the “year-in-review-montage” that every news network plays the week before the New Year.
Instead of reporting on news of entertainment value, such as award shows, sports updates and celebrity breakups, news networks should report on truly informative news. News shows should update the nation on topics of concern. As I have opined before, news networks have lost some sense of the real news stories. The citizenry needs to be enlightened on the daily happenings concerning pertinent human affairs. No one would probably ever let me run a news network; I would air too much real news. Leave the entertainment updates to ESPN and E!.
Sam Rega can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.