Love-based media can change the face of the world

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, September 5, 2001

One of the delights of these coffee chats is bringing people together who might otherwise remain strangers. A case in point is a dialogue that developed a while back between two of our coffee companions around the issue of values and the media.

Calgarian Sandy Corenblum, who joins us regularly by e-mail, had sent me a copy of a letter she was circulating among global media representatives. She addressed the role media can play in changing the world for the better.

I forwarded her letter to another of our e-mail coffee companions, Keith Newman. Keith is part of a team committed to initiatives for change in the world. He saw the importance of Sandy's concerns and connected with her immediately.

Here's what Sandy wrote:

TO THE PEOPLE WHO can get the message out: It seems appropriate that I write this message to you because you are listened to and thought of as "in the know." You can change the face of the world. Your word is powerful and can reach the masses.

I am proposing that in every publication, you run "life ads" promoting a quality of life that can heal, such as: "LOVE." Yes, just "love" in bold letters on a big page, nothing else. I am proposing that you advertise: "Check on your neighbour" – be they a friend, the homeless, a needy senior who might live right beside you. Or, "Spend some time with your child; have family meetings, play Scrabble, go for a walk." Or, "Talk to your spouse; sit on the couch and get to know each other again." Or, "Let's heal the nation; bring something to work every day for the food bank, volunteer to read a story to a senior."

I am proposing a plan that speaks of human decency: doing a good deed, making a change before there is no decency left in us. I urge you to make this your priority, to make the world a place we can feel proud to leave to our children.

—Sandy Corenblum, Calgary

Keith replied to Sandy as follows:

I SALUTE YOUR CONVICTION. In my experience, healing the world is not the exclusive realm of the "powerful". Mother Teresa, when asked how she could ever hope to reach all the millions in the world who needed her care, replied simply, "One by one by one by one."

So what can individuals do?

  1. Support that which is good. We do have Touched by an Angel, and 7th Heaven, amongst others on TV. That's a start.
  2. Create, or inform the media of, positive news. The media can't report what hasn't been created or what it doesn't know about.
  3. Care for any media people you know as people, not as potential mouthpieces. Demonstrate in your daily life the qualities of life which you feel are required for the kind of world you want to live in. These things do rub-off.
  4. Take time every day to open yourself to the Mind of God. Then carry that out in your daily life. We can't hope to comprehend the breadth and depth of all that is happening. But often when we take the time to seek the deepest in ourselves, we find inspiration to take one simple step, often a step of change in our own lives, which can be the catalyst for a chain reaction across our community and beyond.

It may even be the inspiration to write a letter such as that which you have just written.

—Keith Newman, Calgary

THANK YOU, SANDY AND KEITH. For further reading on values and the media, I recommend the web page of the International Communications Forum, a dialogue devoted to media ethics and freedoms of expression and information. Their address is

© 2001 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page