Dear Citizen Reporters and Indie Journalists: Please Stop Doing These Six Things
More people than ever are flocking to independent news sources as it becomes scathingly clear that the traditional outlets have no intention of reporting the news, beyond the script they have been permitted. I suspect when we look back on the events of this Covid-era, when investigations are complete and charges for crimes against humanity are laid, some of those beloved personalities who lead in the deception will find themselves held accountable for their complicit actions and utter lack of integrity in reporting the news. They will be shown to have knowingly provided false information and promoted propaganda to the detriment of their viewers.
While these sources have been around for many years in some capacity, since 2019 we have seen the rise of the independent news source like never before. Many of these journalists, researchers, and videographers face relentless censorship with arbitrary rules applied to control certain narratives. Independent news sources have been the true heroes of this pandemic, pushing vital information out to people in as many formats and platforms as possible, constantly adapting to changing rules and attacks to their sites and broadcasts. If you are such a person, daring to go against the grain at a time when it is dangerous to do so- we applaud you for your integrity! If it weren’t for all of you, this horrible charade would’ve unraveled much faster, and without warning.
With that being said, as an avid consumer of these types of broadcasts, it appears there are a few recurring themes that can be offputting to the viewer, and ultimately drive them away from your channel.
- Stop chastising your audience…they aren’t the ones you’re frustrated with.
Many broadcasters fall into the trap of using their opportunity to spread information, to address the people who don’t, or won’t watch them. We feel you, and we understand that you deal with trolls on social media, comment bots, and strikes-so many strikes. But the very people who are the source of your frustration aren’t in the audience-don’t waste the time of your viewers by ranting at people who aren’t watching. Instead, maintain your professionalism in the face of such actions, and don’t give them so much of your energy. Focus on the people who did choose to watch your broadcast. They have already found you worthy of their time, and respect your format, or they wouldn’t watch. If there are “haters” in the audience, know that their efforts to mock your content will also have the unintended effect…of spreading your content. Honour the people who chose you, by speaking directly to them, with dignity and respect. They don’t want to listen to hours of you railing against people who will never hear you.
2. Try to fight the urge to say you “said it first”, unless it can be done in a quick sentence and truly matters to the story.
The truth is, there are new research gurus and indie journos popping up every day, and you may be wholly unaware of smaller outlets who frequently report on jaw-dropping stories that nobody ever picks up. While it certainly makes sense to acknowledge the date of a previous broadcasting or “when you first reported on…”, but it happens so frequently that I see many hosts, speaking on the same subject and all convinced they reported it first-which only stands to undermine them if in fact they are incorrect. Don’t get roped into the ego-fest that has become the news we reject. If you place more emphasis on whether you knew first, or you stoop to criticizing others who delayed in reporting (to avoid being de-platformed early), you very quickly appear more concerned with accolade than information. Many journalists choose not to report something early, knowing it will prevent them from having a voice when it matters. Everyone has a role in this emerging news world. Stay focused. Stay the course. Don’t be distracted by egos-theirs or yours.
3.Don’t chastise them for watching you on YouTube, if you are broadcasting on YouTube.
This is one that I see almost every week, on a variety of platforms: we all know that YouTube has been the enemy of free speech for some time. We know there are multiple other, better platform options out there: Rokfin, Bitchute and Brand New Tube are but a few. I regularly subscribe to my preferred broadcasters on a monetized platform, to show support, and there are more people than ever, rewarding their news sources with dollars, shares and loyalty. As they manage to break through to their friends and family members, it is your content they will share. But it always happens, I am looking for something on YouTube and see someone is going live on YouTube, and I flip over to watch them, despite that I subscribe elsewhere, only to be told that I shouldn’t be watching on YouTube-and listen-I get it-we would ALL be better off if we got off YouTube, but those recordings when they make it to air are a much easier way for us to pass information to Aunt Sally than sending her to Bitchute where she will be greeted with a home page of information she can’t see past. Trust your audience enough that with a gentle reminder here and there, that other options exist to find you and are preferable-they will find you, and will continue to support you, and they aren’t betraying you by using YouTube. Some of them even take the time to re-upload your streams there to try and grow your audience-and basic marketing 101, is don’t insult your audience. You don’t know why they are watching on YouTube, but it’s probably because they would watch you anywhere, and that’s a good thing! Further more, the day will come when you need to cite a source…back to YouTube. Avoid hypocrisy and give your audience some credit. It’s also super frustrating to be paying for the premium feed only to listen to you chastising the YouTube watchers. This one is so common-by now we all know YouTube for exactly what it is-but if your trying to catch “normies” on YouTube, stop insulting them and share information instead.
4.Don’t use inside jokes, or assume your audience knows what you spoke about last week.
While it can be exhausting to repeat the same details over and over, as your audience grows, you will have first time viewers every time you broadcast. Make sure they can join your gang mid-season and still follow along. If they feel like an outsider, they won’t hang around to try and learn the lingo. Make sure you aren’t creating confusion by assuming the knowledge base of the audience.
5. Don’t be afraid of silence.
It’s ok to pause, to reflect, to take a drink of water-frankly, the pauses are what’s been missing from news all this time. Fight the urge to panic-fill every silence. (This is how you can end up off-topic and rambling!). Think of it more like a conversation, with natural pauses and real expressions and tone. This is what was missing from the main stream news-your viewer is choosing a real person over a persona, so be real.
And the last and most important point:
6) DON’T TRY TO ENGAGE THE COMMENT SECTION WHILE LIVE BROADCASTING!
I can’t say this one loud enough. If you are in the middle of a broadcast and suddenly catch a glimpse of something said in the comment section, don’t respond. Please, for the love of all that is good, don’t respond. You will almost always be wrong. I have watched countless broadcasts where a devout listener says something in context of a conversation in progress, which the host has not seen, and the host makes a false assumption that the viewer is chastising them, or disagreeing, or worse, stupid. Seriously, you will almost never get this right and here’s, why:: The comment section has a life of it’s own, regardless of moderators. For the most part, these are your loyal supporters. Very rarely, they may be a hater but don’t kid yourself into thinking your hater are dedicating that much time. You are far more likely to catch a glimpse of facetiousness, sarcasm, stating the obvious, or even making fun of detractors-and if you don’t know the context, you shouldn’t pull them into your broadcast and starts trying to argue their words on the air. Just. Don’t. Do. It. There are a few great shows who are terrible for this and it detracts from everything they do. It diminishes their credibility and definitely hurts their likability. I have watched show hosts annihilate a commenter who was actually defending the hosts very stance and it immediately kills the vibe in the comments, where many of your listeners have gotten to know each other and become community. It is this community who promotes you. Don’t be un-promotable. (And quit assuming your haters dedicate so much time to you-they really don’t).