Thank You for the Light

Dear @john
Wow, thank you! ❤ Timing is everything! – thank you for this beautiful message and selecting the “right words.”   After eight years in service, I finally found the courage to write again. It would take almost another five years to trust that it would make a difference. And today, thanks to you, my education has come full circle.  My condolences on our loss – your words send the message that David led an exciting life with vocations designed to address the needs of us with endless wants. (smile). I believe when we write, we open a portal to let other voices come through.  I would not be surprised if David found a way to help you with your quest while helping me with mine.  So, thank you for also tending my flame – it is your words that remind me to keep on shining too. 

A Break from Scheduled Programming

 In my red State, there are several blue counties. I happen to live in one of these, and our chief commissioner issued a stay-at-home order on March 25, 2020. On the same day, the county health department determined there were too few coronavirus test kits, and the intensive care is full.

On March 26, 2020, the mayor of the county seat followed suit issuing a” Stay at Home” executive order. The other nearby blue county-has a blue city in it. You may know of this city, as it is home to the world’s busiest airport and the state capitol. The mayor there issued a stay-at-home order on March 24, 2020. She also made the decision based on health officials’ warnings. They said being too close, and in constant contact with others would increase the duration and deaths in this pandemic. 

image of executive order points
Executive Order Office of the Mayor City of Atlanta

So, why the State’s governor allegedly told the press yesterday, he didn’t know asymptomatic carriers could spread the novel coronavirus is baffling. The virus, experts say, causes COVID-19. Oh, did I mention my State is also home to the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Yes, the CDC and the governor are in the same State. So, for the governor to be clueless about the ways the coronavirus spreads was a bit confusing. Especially since on Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Governor signed a “public health state of emergency,” which outlined why this virus is dangerous.

Well, maybe, he wasn’t clueless. Perhaps the governor was referring to the CDC’s April 2 report regarding presymptomatic transmission when he mentioned:

Well, we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours“. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

In an early release, the CDC reported on the presymptomatic transmission. The report, dated April 2, 2020, indicates the newly infected person can pass on the coronavirus before they exhibit the first symptom.

Asymptomatic means the infected may never show signs of infection at any stage of the disease.

Presymptomatic means the newly infected hasn’t exhibited any signs yet. Eventually, the infected will experience symptoms. 

The CDC released the presymptomatic report within those 24-hours the governor referenced. Whether it was the slip of the tongue or ignorance, the governor still made the call to announce the state-ordered Shelter-in-Place protocol. The order is in effect beginning at 6 pm April 3 until April 13, 2020. Consequently, the latter is the same end date on the March 14 public health emergency declaration.  

So maybe what’s giving me pause, is why the news media focused their reporting on what he allegedly mentioned and NOT his action.  

Ok, I’m lying.

I know why. It’s “because – ratings.”  

Sensationalism to get high ratings is one of the many things I didn’t like about broadcast news and, I refused to play that role while reporting. I didn’t believe in destroying someone’s reputation to get ratings. Controversy and character assassination take the focus off what matters to the public.

As a news reporter, I had to fact-check my stories before broadcasting. I also had to use primary sources whenever possible. This is especially true of mainstream news media. Journalists research or at least they are supposed to find facts. Not going to other media sources for information but getting it right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Therefore, before running with that story, a conscientious reporter could’ve asked for clarification. Of course, it means taking the chance of not being first. 

Still, fast and wrong is wrong.

And wrong, in this case, meant they missed the plot twist that the Newly INFECTED can pass on the virus before they exhibit their first symptom. 

We can spread this potentially fatal virus as presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic carriers. And this new information brings us to today’s protocol of wearing masks when in public.

So, don’t let the news media use legerdemain, on you, to fatten their bottom line. The governor’s “I didn’t know” was a titillating talking point. Still, once you fact-checked his assumption against his actions, you quickly realized his response was in direct opposition to his actions.  

Ergo the reporting wasn’t “fake,” but in their haste to get a provocative news angle, they missed an opportunity to update this still-developing story. 

So how can we, the public, get the story when news reporting goes off the rails? Well, we can focus on what is vital to our health and safety, especially when the news media wants us to look elsewhere.

  • If you’re privileged to have access to the internet – use it! You can fact-check the news gatherers. Begin with primary sources. If your state, county, and municipality are like mine, there will be an interactive government website or websites available to you.  

    -AND if your government is fancy, they will also have a government and public access television station that broadcasts local government information and community activities.

    For example, during today’s viewing of this direct unfiltered information, I learned the Secretary of State sent out absentee ballot applications. All 6.9 million eligible voters can vote in the May 19 presidential primary election by mail or in-person.   
  • If you like your news filtered, however, hyperlocal media might be for you. Hyperlocal news media outlets are popping up across the nation. With hyperlocal news, reporters disseminate government and community information generated in your town or city.
  • The two hyperlocal media groups I know of are Patch and Tapinto that deliver local news as it happens to your email inbox.

Now, back to the governor whose possible misquote landed him and his 2018 gubernatorial democratic opponent as a top trending topic on twitter Thursday into Friday.

He also held the frontpage headline of every primary news website. If I were his press secretary, I’d take the loss. His blunder turned into a big win for the State of Georgia. For a short time, we had the nation’s attention.

According to Patch News, we have more than 1000 residents hospitalized. In my county, as of Tuesday, March 31, 2020, we’ve had three reported deaths and 66 cases related to COVID-19. For our health and well-being, we’re on lockdown until after Easter Sunday. 

In today’s climate, not looking out for your interest could be a matter of life or death. Don’t let the news media or politicians play you for your attention. You have the power at your fingertips.

Be Safe, Be Well.

image of an extraterrestrialQuestion of the day. Is it just me, or have you taken an unusual interest in UFO documentaries during this stay at home period?

What’s Your Blog About?

If you can’t explain your blog in one sentence, it probably won’t attract readers. But you don’t have to invest a lot of time in your blog, manuscript, or service to know if it will succeed.    All you have to do is describe it to someone who doesn’t have a clue.   

It’s that simple. 

If you can’t, then stop what you’re doing and go back to ”why” you’re doing it in the first place. Once you determine your “why,” it will be easy to know who you are trying to reach with your creation and how it can help them.  When you understand why and how then you’ll have a successful outcome.

For example, the first version of this blog came while I was “flying the friendly skies.” I intended to create a daily log about life as a stewardess and discuss my perspective from 35,000 feet.   

Meeting people from all over the world,  I learned that we all desire the same thing. So, naturally, I wanted to talk about human behavior. My blog attracted a mix of travel writers and bloggers who write about the human condition. Although it appeared I was writing about travel, it was a different type of travelogue. It was one that focused on travelers going to destinations. So, it turned out that less than 1% of those subscribers commented or read my blog at all.  I learned my “who” was a tiny audience who, like me, was also interested in or didn’t understand why people did the things they do.

Oddly, as a career marketing and communication professional, I do know what motivates most people.  But I rejected the assumption.  I didn’t want to write about pedestrian human behavior or how marketers manipulate consumers. It feels wrong to stereotype people or put them in boxes. Even when they prove the assumption to be correct most of the time. My goal was and continues to be to move us out of those boxes put our humanity on display. Therefore, my travelogue featured anecdotes of worldwide travelers.  It was my goal to hold up a mirror to show how we unpack our humanness. If the blog had a logline, it would read:

An embittered stewardess finds her humanity while in service to travelers worldwide.

The prospective audience was curious to find out how being in service to weary travelers helped reopen the stewardess’s heart to find love, compassion, and creativity again. With clear direction on the subject, I could:

  • decide what I wanted to accomplish with my blog,
  • know who I was writing to and why,
  • determine which topics are most important to them.

If I did that, my blog would have been a success.  That is if I considered my blog as a business at the onset. But I didn’t.  In the beginning, it was more of vanity publishing, and as a result, the blog has been through several versions in the last 5 years.

So, there you have it, an example of how to fail at blogging. Don’t waste 5 years figuring out how to grow an audience for your blog.   

Before you post your first word,

  • start with why you’re writing it.
  • Who you’re writing the blog for,
  • and how the blog will benefit them…and “they will come.”
  • By the way, what you hope to accomplish with your blog could be altruistic, i.e., make a social impact.  But remember, you will need to generate enough income to keep it going too.

If you’re still wondering what most people want, it’s this: people want others to acknowledge that they matter.

~Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and a very Merry Christmas!