On my bicycle ride home after watching the documentary movie “Page One: Inside the New York Times,” http://www.magpictures.com/pageone/ I thought about the role media in general and newspapers in specific play in our lives. In the world of bicycle news, too often the focus is on injury and death and not on bicycling as an alternative transportation mode. At any given time, a perusal of google news/bicycle will yield mostly stories involving death, personal injury or crimes where either the perpetrator or victim was riding a bicycle. As irony would have it, the movie spends substantial time on how news aggregators, such as google news, will affect the sale of paper copies of newspapers and thus their future revenue.
The point here is that the movie portrayed newspaper reports as humans who just want to get the story right. So, if you are a bicycle advocate, and if you know a news reporter, invite him or her to coffee or lunch to discuss your bicycle advocacy ideas. We need to get away from the death and destruction stories and get ahead of the push back as bikes become more prevalent. And, if you do not know a reporter, they are easy to find on the web site of any reputable publication or media outlet. Find her or him and ask for a meeting or offer to buy coffee or lunch. Establish a rapport and follow a career. This way, we as bicyclists will be in a better position to protect the gains made, and secure future funding for bicycle infrastructure improvements as this economy restructures and transportation modes evolve.
[The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent a position of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.]