March 19, 2020
During this current time of disruption and uncertainty, we find it deeply troubling when a person or entity with a prominent voice misuses or even abuses his/her power of communicating by employing impassioned language intended to cause fear, anger, and even panic.
This applies to journalists, politicians, bloggers, podcasters, influencers, corporations, and world leaders alike. The fact of the matter is that too many stories shared with the public during these calamitous times take advantage of one of the most powerful ways to gain immediate attention–by injecting content that evokes negative feelings. These stories can instantly lead to sadness, anxiety, depression, resentment, or any other human emotions that make people feel upset or helpless.
This is certainly a time when urgent information needs to be immediately shared with an audience, but there is simply no benefit to constantly focus on delivering negative content. As Thoughtful Storytellers, we feel that anyone with a voice has a responsibility to properly balance a message with all of the facts or a word of hope and encouragement.
Highly regarded British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill once said during World War II, “where there is great power there is great responsibility.” His infamous message speaks to so many situations where it is critical to include thoughtful words of caring, empathy, peace, and hope in trying times.
Responsibility also applies to the recipients of any content. Be wary of a voice that continually focuses on gaining attention by triggering negative emotions. Take time to seek the story’s full perspective before you reach conclusions. Avoid victimization by short-sighted individuals and entities which share emotion-driven stories with the intent to manipulate fear and anger. Storytellers have an obligation to share responsible and balanced content. Human emotions deserve to be respected, not exploited.
So, take a deep breath and continue to concentrate on the light at the end of the tunnel. We desperately need to remain accountable and supportive as we weather this storm.