time vs. attention

It never ceases to amaze me how many people assume that the amount of attention an issue gets in the news reflects the amount of time I spend on it. I keep hearing from people saying that they wish I would spend less time on tobacco and more on other issues. They assume that, since that’s all the journalists want to talk to me about, that’s all I’m doing.

What’s really weird is that everyone knows the newsmedia aren’t able to fully and accurately reflect all issues. So why assume their attention on tobacco is somehow reflective of how I spend my time and energy?

The reality is that I hardly spend any time on tobacco issues. There was a couple months last year when I really focused on tobacco research and policy recommendations. I haven’t burned hardly any time on it since then. I’ve been too busy working on the Spirit of the Sea Festival, housing diversity research, public art projects, and getting a foothold on energy generation opportunities in the city… but none of these initiatives seem to inspire much attention from journalists.

… If I work hard on an issue but no reporter writes about it, does anybody notice? … Apparently not. Apparently the assumption is that all I’m doing is trying to ban smoking, since that’s all they see in the news.

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