According to a Pew Research Center study, Americans are greatly divided on the role media should play in society, and this is largely due to the U.S. becoming more polarized with political beliefs.
“Research shows that if you are on the right, or the left and you see something you don’t agree with, you often get to a point where you are gonna fight it,” Friedman said. “You are going to read it more carefully so you can poke holes in it. And so what we have is a polarized polis that is getting more and more polarized every day.”
The extreme polarization has led people to describe the media as “fake news” and for many Americans to become concerned about fair coverage.
“It concerns me a great deal,” Tamari said.
Although the media may receive a poor reputation from most Americans, it can be used as a tool for telling powerful stories, Friedman said.
“Powerful storytelling can do much more than any activist can do,” Friedman said. “And you need both, but sometimes you need an emotional connection.”
The writing Friedman describes, however, does not have to come in only one format. Storytelling can also be presented on different multimedia platforms, because of new technological developments.
“And so you've got to leap into the future and think about platforms as you're thinking about what is storytelling,” Friedman said. “It’s not always videos. It’s not always photos.”
One of MTV's most viral campaigns, "Darfur is Dying," used a video game to describe the Darfur genocide taking place in Western Sudan.
“The viral video game did a better job than anything else that we put on,” Friedman said.
Some of the Carolina Forum attendees left the event with a much more optimistic view of the media than when they first arrived, which is exactly what Friedman said he intended to achieve with his lecture.
“It gave me hope in media, restorative, if that makes sense,” senior McLain Saba said. “It made me realize that there are people in the media right now that are trying to make a more beneficial impact and are trying to make that social change. So, yeah, it definitely took away the negative stereotypes.”