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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Media could learn lesson

Recent events in Berlin made for big headlines with an ensuing rush to get a “big story” pressing a daily media outlet go awry.  An example of why rash decisions by both adults and kids can have unfortunate consequences.
The firestorm kicked off with an unseemly posting by one student on Instagram, quickly followed by a couple of other incidents, none related or normally newsworthy.
A scuffle in the hallways of the high school followed the next day off-campus by two students deciding to settle a dispute with their fists, a fact of life since the dawn of time, were all portrayed as indication of racial upheaval simply because those involved are of different color.
Later spray-painted damage caused by a couple of troubled and bored kids became news only due to the extensive nature of it, not an indication of the town’s youth gone wild.
The media’s role is to provide news and information, not make it, without succumbing to internal or external pressure to either sanitize or sensationalize.  The ensuing brouhaha of the wide-ranging coverage should be a lesson learned not only by the students involved but by the media as well.
The kids involved in the incidents can be easily forgiven, as the significance of respecting yourself, others and your community, are sometimes learned the hard way. As for the media, in this age of instant communication, there is a responsibility to act thoughtfully, to not make decisions rashly with the need for attention, as dutifully doing that job is one of the best lessons we can provide our youth.
Because of the overblown coverage, the consequences of the events have been felt by not just by the kids involved, but by the community at-large.  
Thankfully, as the dust settled, the response by townspeople and officials was more indicative of their nature. Cars were quickly cleaned, graffiti on buildings painted over, and, most importantly, the community wrapped its collective arms around a school whose reputation was unfairly tarnished. Pretty cool Berlin.