In search of passion, purpose and positive change

What’s the purpose of journalism, media, art – or communication of any sort? Your goal may be to build a business, or to prevent one from crumbling. Both are tough and worthy goals. But are they a purpose?
Here’s a purpose: help an anorexic woman tell her friends about her disease; or raise $500,000 for a suicide prevention hotline.

PostSecret is a blog that collects postcards with personal secrets. It’s a window on the human heart. Verified? Who knows. Founder Frank Warren turned the idea into a book, a series of exhibits at art galleries, and an unfolding set of stories. In a guest post at Mashable this week he summarized his purpose:

Emerging communication technologies like Blogs, virtual “places,” online chats and other social media are allowing us to have new kinds of conversations. Conversations that can bring people together in the real world and generate positive change.

Positive change is a fuzzy, feel-good notion – and one that mainstream journalism avoids through the cloak and myth of objectivity. But here’s the cost of all that dispassion and distance: Mainstream journalism is languishing because passion and purpose have found other outlets. In the U.S., we don’t bother with newspapers because they are empty vessels, devoid of passion or purpose.

PostSecret celebrates the subjective and the power to channel passion into action. That’s a purpose newspapers will need to rediscover, or their successors will discover it for them.

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