You might be wondering what the Caroline Flack tragedy has to do with Newcastle United, but just hear me out.
A lot has been said and written about the role of the media since news of the 40-year-old’s death was confirmed.
After an article was written on hitc.com by Mat Nash about how he intends to change his approach, particularly when writing Twitter articles, it got me thinking about how I go about my business on Geordie Boot Boys.
With the way things are at Newcastle United, it’s often hard not to talk about the negative.
On multiple occasions, I’ve written negative articles about players who’ve had a bad game. Quite often I’ll do a Twitter reaction piece, with multiple people sharing a sometimes negative opinion about a player’s performance.
Around this time last year, I’d written a lot of negative articles about Isaac Hayden. I spoke about how he should never play for the club again amid talk of him wanting to leave.
Not long later, I actually issued an apology to Hayden, as I felt I had been completely unfair to the midfielder. In reality, he just wasn’t playing great during what was likely an incredibly tough time for him personally.
And he’s not the only Newcastle player or figure who has been criticised on this website.
Now, I’m not saying we can’t criticise players now. This isn’t some ‘snowflake generation’ piece about how no one can say anything to anyone.
But it shouldn’t be about being overly negative and bringing people down. Yeah, if something isn’t good, you’re more than entitled to your opinion. But you’ve got to consider how that opinion might effect the person reading it.
I know myself, I’m always scared of negative feedback on anything I’ve written or any video I’ve made for the HITC Sport YouTube channel.
You don’t know who reads or sees what content you put out there. While you’re only one person, there might be a plethora of other people saying negative things about the same person. That can really impact someone negatively, in a way that we often never see.
We are all the media now. Articles from a fan website is the media. Twitter is the media. We need to be more responsible for what we put out there and ensure we aren’t needlessly bringing people down.
This is not a vow to sugarcoat everything on this website and look at things through rose-tinted glasses. However, I intend to be more balanced in my approach.
If an article is negative, it will be balanced and considered. It won’t be volatile or filled with hate in hope of getting clicks. It won’t be a case of ‘he’s crap’, ‘sell him’, ‘he can barely kick a ball’, it will be taking a negative and looking at how it can be improved.
Mental health is something than can impact anyone, be it celebrities or footballers, or anyone in between. Sadly, it is often too late before we realise what someone is going through.
Caroline Flack’s name was dragged through the media, from the press to Twitter. It never should have been allowed to happen.
It sounds very self-righteous to make a horrific loss about a little website about a football club in the north east, but the passing of Caroline Flack has hurt a lot of people.
In an age where anyone can have a voice, we must make sure we’re using it in the right way.