Civility

Ryan Welch / KSMU

All this week, we’re investigating civility and what role it plays in our community.

Today, we’re considering the news media:  what role do – or should – journalists play in encouraging civil discourse?  And what’s the state of civility in terms of how journalists themselves are treated?

Let’s tackle that one first by taking a step back and looking through a nationwide lens.

(Photo courtesy Springfield Regional Arts Council)

Every summer the Springfield Regional Arts Council cooperates with the Springfield Community Center to present a six-week program for kids in Zones 1 and 2 who are served by the Community Center.  It's called "Arts in the Park"--Jordan Valley Park, to be exact, where the Arts Council's Creamery Arts Center offices are located. Each week during the six-week program, representatives  from Springfield's major visual and performing arts groups conduct week-long workshops with the kids based on each organization's specialty: the Symphony, Little Theatre, the Opera, the Art Museum, and so on.

Michele Skalicky

At times it seems that civility is dead.  People are constantly at odds with one another, and shouting matches are all too common, especially online.  Social media is often used as a battleground where people who disagree on various issues fight with words.   People who were once friends no longer talk because their political or other beliefs are different.  

Despite that, there are many things happening in the Ozarks that show civility and attempts to understand one another are, in fact, very much alive.

Michele Skalicky

Social media has become a platform for people to share ideas and learn more about one another.  But it’s also become a battleground, of sorts—a place where people can hide behind words and say things they wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face.  A recent study done by Wired Magazine and Disqus looked at the number of toxic posts in each state.  In Missouri, the study found that 7.3 percent of posts over a 16-month period, included hostile content.

When President Donald Trump came to town, hateful comments between those who support Trump and those who don’t were flying. 

But there were people whose comments sought to calm the situation.