SHEENA BARNETT: Newsmakers have common ground

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

“Dear Humanity, Your pride is worthless. Signed, Earth.”
– Heather Truett

There are so many interesting parts to the news, but I’m especially fascinated with two of them right now: how to decide what stories to tell, and what your audience does with the news you’ve delivered to them.
That being said, I think the two biggest newsmakers lately, being actor Charlie Sheen’s rants and ravings and the Japan quake and tsunami, may have the tiniest bit in common. Hear me out.
First off, Charlie Sheen – I have no idea why this guy is a story, really. It’s not like he’s a lawmaker who has some control over our rights, or a powerful businessman whose decisions affect what we pay for gas from week to week.
He’s an actor with a notorious past – and, apparently, present – but nothing he has to say or do affects much of anybody outside his friends, family and co-workers.
I’m an entertainment reporter, and the only way I’d ever cover this story would be to discuss how his personal life has affected his work.
Meanwhile, the newsworthiness of the Japanese tragedy is obvious. It’s something that has affected us all as individuals and as a civilization.
I’m proud to say that on the day the news broke of the quake and tsunami, I heard my friends everywhere, in person and online, talk about sending both donations and prayers to Japan. They – including my friend Heather, whose Facebook status I quoted at the beginning of this column – discussed how the event changed the way we see humanity.
As the Sheen story unfolded, I was disheartened so hear so many jokes made about the guy.
He’s said plenty of crazy things lately, to be sure, but it’s all the ramblings of a man who clearly needs help.
My point is, when we get the news we’re delivered, it’s up to us to decide what to do from there.
In the case of the Japanese quake and tsunami, it’s clear – you pray, send good thoughts, donate money or items. You try to help.
In the case of Sheen, it’s … what, exactly?
I don’t think telling jokes at his expense is the answer.
Sending up a quick prayer for the guy – not to mention his kids and the folks who are unemployed now that his TV show has shut down production – couldn’t hurt.
Some may argue that he isn’t deserving, but I don’t think that’s our call to make.
I also think we all have our own Charlie Sheens in our lives. They may not be addicted to drugs, but they may be fighting their own demons.
If nothing else, I hope the Sheen story invites us all to stop focusing on ourselves so much and give thought to those who could use a good thought or two, at the very least.
Funny. I think that’s the same lesson we should learn from what’s happening in Japan.

Contact Daily Journal writer Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or Also read her entertainment blog, Scene Now, at

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