REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Any chance we can stop the shouting?

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Newcastle Herald journalist Betina Hughes.

People are amazing, aren't they?

That's the end of Voice of Real Australia for today. That's all I wanted to say.

Not really. But have you stopped to think about that recently?

I think my favourite aspect of travelling is meeting so many amazing people.

You can't help but notice that we are all so unique, and yet, very similar.

We have dreams, we have pain, we have the ability to sit and chat with someone we have never spoken to before and hear their story.

Allee and Brody Butler-Yorston with their parent and aunt Army reservist Corporal Marie Yorston reunited after she had been deployed for a month in Operation Bushfire Assist. Picture: Kate Healy

Allee and Brody Butler-Yorston with their parent and aunt Army reservist Corporal Marie Yorston reunited after she had been deployed for a month in Operation Bushfire Assist. Picture: Kate Healy

As a digital journalist, I often see social media comments from people who throw words like "grub", "idiot" - you fill in the blank - to someone they've never met.

Why? Most of the time it's because they disagree with them. Often, they don't know them. They're building their fury on one comment from the other person.

It's always disappointing to see because I wonder how it benefits us as a community.

How do help build a culture of mutual respect when you're too busy shouting your opinion to listen?

It's easy to forget the humanity of the person walking past us in the street, living on the other side of the world, or on the other end of the keyboard.

Just like us, they have circumstances circling them others may never know about.

They have a family. Or, maybe they don't. In which case, they may need even more of your compassion.

When was the last time you spoke with someone who completely disagreed with you?

Yet through all the danger and chaos it was so uplifting to see worldwide support for our country through donations and emergency services reserves.

It's amazing how much good you can find when you dig below the surface.

Maybe we're not all that different after all.

Betina Hughes

journalist, Newcastle Herald

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