That isn't just a typo that slipped into the title. It was intentional on my part.
Actually, it was a test to see if you would read "beware," or if a quick brush over it led you to read it as "be aware."
There is a point to to this. It has to do with being able to critically think about what we read, and how we respond to what we read in turn.
Being aware of what you read has to take some important characteristics into account. They can legitimize or delegitimize an argument and the meaning behind it, regardless of your views.
I think that tone is especially important, because it can further influence the attitude with which your argument or angle is presented. This is at the crux of the issue in this blog post, and it has to do with how a television news station handled a local topic that has become controversial in the last week.
Fox59 recently broke a story regarding transgender bathroom choice at North Putnam High School. They came to school board meeting last Thursday and had their article up early Friday morning.
What was initially concerning was that this issue was not brought to the attention to anyone at the Banner Graphic beforehand. I was there at the school board meeting to get the general story, as usual.
One parent went before the board and brought up the concern as it pertained to sports teams, cautioning against "hearsay" while relating that she wanted to take it to the "appropriate people." She did not reference the student who took the selfie in the boy's bathroom.
A group of parents and students attended the meeting, perhaps anticipating to hear more than what was conveyed by North Putnam superintendent Dr. Nicole Singer. None of them came forward, and the meeting went on.
I was getting my overview of the meeting together Friday morning when my attention was brought to Fox59's article. When I read it, my first reaction was, "What's going on here?"
As I wrote my angle on what happened, I decided to make it a point that the parent's comment did not lead to anything disruptive. I hope that I gained some trust with Dr. Singer and other school officials at North Putnam as they encourage discussion on the issue.
Despite the controversy that others have encouraged (the link to the story on our Facebook page has 150 boxing match-like comments as of my writing this), the point is that the transgender issue did not take precedence over the other items that were on the board's agenda.
I am not here to rag on Fox59 and how they decide to cover events on a daily basis. However, I think that there is a clear difference between how I put my story together and how they crafted theirs. Their angle struck me as sensationalist, trying to find controversy where there really was none.
To put it in a simpler way, the article's tone did not sync with the reality of the meeting. And what could've very well been a non-issue has now become one that North Putnam Schools must now be delicate with.
My takeaway at the end of this is that readers should be aware, and weary, of tone and word choice when they read such a story.
When it comes to analyzing what is going on around us, doing so can lead to more productive discussion, instead of a rant on Facebook.