Friday, April 17, 2009

Suburban Mom's Political Fix: Lovin' Nightly News 'Making a Difference' Segments

Maybe I'm just one giant, sentimental sap. I've been accused of possessing a disproportionate amount of sentimentality before, particularly by a friend of mine who doesn't understand how I can annually watch It's a Wonderful Life and still cry at the ending. Every. Single. Time. Even though I know the "richest man in town" toast is coming.

That being said, I must admit to getting a lump in my throat while watching many recent "Making a Difference" segments on NBC's Nightly News.

Several weeks ago in early March, amid the crush of dire economic news, reports about thousands of jobless Americans, people losing their homes to foreclosure and widespread financial desperation, Brian Williams sent out a plea to his viewers: Send me stories, uplifting stories about regular people doing things to help others without even being asked. And NBC's web site was flooded with heartening tales. During many broadcasts since he made that request, Williams has read e-mail after e-mail aloud on air bearing stories of good will. At least once a week, a reporter has been dispatched to report on one specific tale submitted by a viewer.

Earlier this week, a viewer from Michigan wrote in about how an anonymous businessman paid for meals for strangers at a local restaurant. All he asked for in return was that the patrons pay the kindness forward by using the money they would've spent for their meals to bolster the local economy and local charities.

Last night, a viewer from Virginia named Krystal, sent an e-mail saying that a colleague, upon hearing that Krystal's husband's unemployment payments had run out and the family was in economic trouble, left a check for $500 on her desk saying that someone had once did something like that for her when she was just out of college and broke. The generous colleague asked only that Krystal do the same for someone else in need in the future when she had the money to do so. (Link to the video here.)

Some people, like grizzled, by-the-numbers journalists and curmudgeons like Mr. Potter might make a face at this kind of reporting and scoff, "Sentimental hogwash!" To me, it's a public service, a professional bucking up public service that warms my heart. And I think it does make a difference.

1 comment:

Emily McKhann said...

Meredith, your beautiful post and NBC clip made me cry this morning (yes, I'm with you!). Thanks for this!!!!