With the U.S. State Department issuing an alert on Sunday “urging Americans traveling to Europe to be vigilant about possible terrorist attacks,” I am wondering how many of the editors I know are canceling assignments, “holding stories” and in general, choosing NOT to write about Britain, France and Germany until this storm passes.
When is this GOING to stop?
I am not talking about the threats themselves. I am talking about our role (“the media’s” role) in spreading fear and perpetuating the problem.
I believe we need to take a look, a very serious look at what we are doing in our simple role as travel writers versus what we need to do. We almost have to be like firefighters these days.
We have to run into the building to put the fire out, not cower in the corner and hope it dies out on its own.
We have to stand up and educate our editors and for those of us who run our own sites or blogs, we need to take our own chances in what we write about.
Over they years, I’ve canceled several trips because of bombs, natural disasters, and man-made disasters. Almost always it had to do with a nervous editor or “pulled ads.”
I am not suggesting that any of us put ourselves in harm’s way and certainly, I love to travel comfortably.
But I also know that anything can happen anywhere at any time. And if we choose to jump on the fear wagon, we are not serious travel writers. We are fair-weather travel writers.
I just wrote a piece about a recent return trip to Egypt which you’ll find at FarewellTravels.com. If Egypt is on your bucket list, but you keep putting it off because of the uncertain times we are in, I encourage you to read it.
Where do you stand on this issue? Share your opinion!
Interesting post Susan! I know that the media has a responsibility to report facts and warn travelers when there is an increased safety risk for any particular destination (and I want to emphasize *an increased risk*, since there is always some risk pretty much everywhere), but I do think that at times – okay, frequently – the media tends to blow things out of proportion and engage in fear-mongering, as we saw last year with the H1N1 virus in Mexico……it was a limited outbreak relatively speaking when compared to average worldwide numbers each flu season, with little to no reports from tourist areas, yet the big media had travelers petrified to travel to Mexico, which hurt the travel industry and devastated the Mexican tourism trade.
So I’m in favor of balanced and responsible reporting, which I doubt we’ll see from big media anytime soon….
Back when an al Qaeda-trained terrorist tried to destroy an airliner with a bomb hidden in his underwear, I wrote this on my blog. In light of the recent travel alert across Europe, I went back to it to see if my feelings have changed since then.
Greg Gross, editor
I’m Black & I Travel
Wow – very well written post, Greg – thanks for sharing it with us. I agree with your position, but don’t see things changing anytime soon, if at all. I don’t let fear keep me at home, but I do allow an extra hour or so for the security hassle….I mean process….when I do travel.
Really great post, Greg. Thanks for sharing that.
you wont find any fear-based writing from me … quite the opposite. Remember we have nothing to fear but fear its elf … (who said that?)
As a solo, nomadic, slow writer – and usually (99%)travel with no reservations – I know the world is full of great people.
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Susan, I would like to appreciate your post. This is really interesting for me. I also like travel blog and I think will write something like this.
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