Another example of ‘mindless’ journalism
Posted on February 6th, 2015

By Shelton A. Gunaratne from Moorhead

An abundance of “mindless” journalism continues to appear in the media published in the West as well as their blind imitators in the non-West.

I believe the advent of citizen journalism in the 21st century provides the most cogent background to start  what is now known as mindful journalism centered on Buddhist core principles.

I call upon the new government of Sri Lanka to transform Lake House to a  training and production centered for mindful journalism. It should also require the journalism and mass communication  programs in the Sri Lankan university to  adjust their curricula to accommodate the teaching and practice of mindful journalism.

Below, I reproduce a letter I published in my local newspaper, The (Fargo-Moorhead) Forum, pointing out the the “mindless” outburst of a syndicated columnist taking advantage of freedom of expression. Censorship is not the answer to curb this kind of trash. Public criticism is the better solution.

Letter: Learn more about mindful journalism

By Shelton A. Gunaratne from Moorhead on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:11 p.m.

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Dan K. Thomasson, the Tribune-News writer whose column you published Feb. 4 provides a supreme example of a journalist who needs training in mindfulness to adjust himself to the realities of the digital era.

Thomasson builds the column around an ideational conflict he has with his youngest son who lives in California, which, he says, has become “the home of organic foods, Buddha moms who regard canned baby food as poison, and a breeding ground for goofy ideas.”

But, from beginning to end, Thomasson by both omission and commission tries to assert that only his standpoint is correct. All others, including his son, are “nuts.” The entire essay reflects his irrepressible anger, a sure sign of mind pollution.

His dig at “Buddha moms” is uncalled for because it is insulting. How would he feel if someone brands the likes of him as “Jesus freaks”?

I ask Thomasson to read the book “Mindful Journalism and News Ethics in the Digital Era: A Buddhist Approach” (to be released by Routledge this month) that I wrote with two other scholars, Mark Pearson and Sugath Senarath, before he writes future columns.

Gunaratne is the lead author of a new book on mindful journalism.

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