Dear Readers who ROAR:
You may not read everything that goes up on our site, and that’s fine—but if you’re reading any of the things that go up, you will have noticed that our world is in turmoil.
The first time I understood that our world was in turmoil was when I was in elementary school and Watergate took over everyone’s TV set. Most of you reading this won’t even understand what that was like, to have every living room on every block tuned to the same footage (even if some parents preferred one network to the others—all three of them). Yes, it provided a sort of community and a real baseline, but that kind of heterogeneity is in the rearview mirror.
For good reasons. Although storied broadcast journalists such as Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, and Ed Bradley fought to present the truth about President Nixon’s perfidy, they were often hamstrung by pressure from their network bosses and corporate boards. They only had so much air time, so many resources, to present everything that was happening in one of our nation’s most confusing moments of crisis.
In the decades since Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency, our need for information has increased, and so have the means for disseminating it. We’ve gone from three-networks-plus-PBS through “Fifty-seven channels and nothing’s on” all the way to hundreds of channels, thousands of websites, and millions of pageviews. Not only do we have more information than ever—we can customize it to our taste. Create your own FlipBoard “magazine” and you’ll never have to read anything unpleasant again. Tune out of the nightly news and plug in to a podcast about tiny houses. Put down that journal and work on your own blog about gaming.
The problem, of course, is that you’re leaving things in someone else’s hands. When they own the information they can bend it all they want, as John Mayer sings. Here at ROAR we’re not necessarily reporting the news about feminism, politics, and social change, but we are paying attention to it. We’re commenting on it, discussing it, speaking out against injustice, and working to shape new perspectives. We’re part of the change we want to see in the world.
That is the gift we’ve been given in this digital age: To be able to take part. So that every little girl shocked by what she sees on television, in the newspaper, or through a live stream will know that she has a voice, too.
Bethanne Patrick is the Co-Executive Editor for ROAR, a position she has been training for since childhood, when she organized games of “newsroom” in her basement, and always made the assignments. When she’s not emailing Sarah and Jeet, she can be found reviewing books for The Washington Post and NPR, acting as a contributing editor at Lit Hub, and working on her novel. Just kidding–she’s usually reading, which is why she is also the Books & Media editor for ROAR. Patrick is on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.