At our last Press Club board meeting, we agreed that it was only right to give our president Thom Fladung a little support in writing the intro to the Byliner each month. I'd like to say that I was the first to volunteer, but it's more accurate to say that I was voluntold the March job was mine.
Actually, the timing couldn't be better for me. While it's been a while since I worked a reporter's beat or contributed a byline to a mainstream publication, I traffic in the news all day every day in my communications role at Hathaway Brown School. It has been fascinating to watch the way that the news is now being shaped and shared by the people who are the subjects of the news themselves. Through the #MeToo movement and in the wake of the tragedy last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it's incredibly inspiring for me to witness women and students stand up and refuse to allow others to control their narratives. Hathaway Brown is a girls' school with a 142-year history of educating and empowering women, and I can tell you firsthand that the kind of insight, passion, and eloquence we're hearing from Parkland teenagers on Twitter and on the Sunday morning news shows is heard every single day in the classrooms and up and down the halls of my school in Shaker Heights and at thousands upon thousands of other schools across the region and all over the country. Of course it is incumbent on journalists to cover all sides of a story and to mitigate the dissemination of inflammatory content and misinformation as much as possible, but it is refreshing that so many formerly marginalized voices are coming to the fore and sharing their perspectives clearly and unequivocally, and on their own terms.
With easy access to open digital platforms, media consumers have become media producers. Of course this is not new. And it's not really news. But it is exciting to behold the real-time reporting that's now happening on stories of impact. The accounts are being delivered by the people who are there-people who are not merely witnesses to the unfolding history, but who actually are active participants in that unfolding history. There is no time for press releases to be issued anymore, and the prescribed and controlled press conference of the past is being eschewed in favor of up-to-the-minute dispatches from dozens of iPhones in the field. These shifts change the way that people in positions like mine will have to approach our work going forward, and they definitely change the way that journalists cover important events.
While I have no gems of wisdom to impart on this emerging news delivery framework, I know it's critical for all of us to pay attention to what's happening and make sure we continue to do our part to share information in a responsible way. The Press Club is a great place to find a mix of seasoned and early career professionals, along with corporate communications practitioners and fellow news junkies who have plenty of ideas about how to do just that. Join us at one of our future events and make your voice heard. You'll be in good company.
Chief Marketing & Communication Officer
Hathaway Brown School