Through personal reflections I’ve determined (or at least told myself) that I don’t like simple takeaways. My policy-oriented and puzzle-solving background knows that there are usually more answers to any given question or issue than any one person can possibly comprehend. While there may or may not exist a perfect piece to solve each of these complex issues, there are often barriers that prevent us from considering these options, or from understanding them fully. As such, it is journalism’s responsibility to remove the bumpers from our story’s gutters and give the public the knowledge they need to truly analyze and decide on issues.
The most notable Amanda Ripley’s suggestions for creating complex and nuanced conversations was to widen the lens. Often we only recognize the most readily-available arguments and opinions and refuse to look and move beyond the status quo. There exists a fake dichotomous spectrum that permeates all policy discussion about what is more or less “progressive”, “traditional”, “liberal”, or “conservative”. The truth is that policies often exist as more than a point on a political axis, and represent an attempt to solve an issue with a particular frame of reference with underlying assumptions and intentions that often go unchecked and unquestioned. Instead of assimilating these policies or ideas that might sprout them into the left/right dichotomy, let’s talk about what they address and how they plan to go about it. With these discussions we also have to think about who has been left out of the equation, and who might have a different perspective on the issue, which often sprouts entirely new conversations. For a long time it was expected of journalists to show the two sides to any story, which goes to show its faults – there never exists just two sides to an issue.