A few short weeks ago, many of us gathered at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake for our WBA Summer Conference. COVID got the better of me unfortunately, but I assure you I was with you in spirit and sorry to miss valued time with each of you. But I know it was impactful and that many of you took away valuable lessons from many outstanding speakers.
One that I was personally looking forward to hearing was Dan Shelley of the RTDNA, as I am confident, he spoke on a topic near and dear to our hearts – the “Fight for the Truth.” This is a battle broadcast journalists face daily, making our jobs much harder. And while I recognize the battle is always with us, as confounding as that may be, we must never give up our goal of winning this important fight.
What makes it so frustrating is that politics seems to bring out the very worst of it. During the political cycle of 2016, there was an influx of so-called fake news. During the political cycle of 2020, there was a significant increase of misinformation, both political and health-related, all-over social media. And as we gear up for the 2024 political cycle, brace yourself for whatever’s to come. Unfortunately, while it was once mostly geared to national media, it is now ever-present in our local world too. The challenge is: What can local broadcasters do about it.
The good news is – we can be and will be successful fighting it. First and foremost, we are Local Broadcasters. We live in the community. We serve the community. And we report on the local news and information that is important to local viewers, of all ages and all ethnicities. We keep viewers safe in an emergency, like severe weather and breaking news. We help raise money and goods for important causes and for people and animals in need. We expose corruption. We ask tough questions. We get answers. And we hold the powerful accountable. We are Local Broadcasters. And that is one of the most important duties our forefathers provided for in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The right to a Free Press.
Over the course of the next several months, you will hear more about a new branding campaign. It is a key component of our new strategic plan that I talked about in the last newsletter. In this branding campaign, our most important goal is to position your WBA as trusted, local broadcasters whose job it is to serve communities. We cannot be bashful in telling our audiences what we do and what we do well. In that way, we hope to set ourselves apart and to explain the important role we have in keeping our democracy and our local communities strong.
WBA Board Chair