Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
a television company which executive produces programs and consults
with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc.
is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television
in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the
Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery
Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery
Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted
Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation
Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
June 15, 2007
Tombers contemplates the impact on media messaging by individuals
There is not a time in my life in which I have been aware
of being alive when I have not been aware of knowing Sarah
Ellen McCormick Malone. There is an iconic photo of us in
our raingear, going off to kindergarten for the first time
and when that happened we were already old friends. She is
my other sister and, despite our always living
in different cities from the time we were twelve, we have
maintained our friendship and consider ourselves each others
oldest dear friend.
Her son Kevin has always referred to me as Uncle Mat, an accolade
that causes me to smile when I think about it. I love him
dearly. I am waxing on about this because I am fresh from
returning from New Mexico where Kevin was raised and where
his parents still live and where, this past weekend, there
was a celebration for his graduation from college combined
with a going away party as he is leaving for two and a half
years in Zambia as a member of the Peace Corps.
Sitting in the Quaker Meeting house where the party was held,
watching the crowd and Kevin, I thought about the significance
of what he is doing. While the world is generally unimpressed,
to put it very, very kindly, with the United States at this
particular point in history, there is another side to our
global presence people like Kevin, who are giving of
their time to make a difference in a destitute part of the
world. Kevin, who is as wired as any young man of his generation,
will be living in a village with no electricity. He is arriving,
however, with a plentiful supply of rechargeable batteries
and a solar system for doing so; an iPod is a necessity, after
all. Unfortunately, there is no internet connection but he
has already organized his blog and will add to it when he
can find connectivity.
His Peace Corps efforts are mirrored by the actions of individuals
like my brother Joe, a doctor, and his daughter, Theresa,
a nurse, who travel to Honduras on a yearly basis to provide
medical care for two weeks in a remote and under serviced
area of the country. It is something my brother has done in
one form or another all his life. Of the original Peace Corps
generation, he gave his time to the Jesuits then and ran a
clinic for children in Honduras after his medical internship.
During much of his practice, he volunteered in store front
clinics. [If he seems saintly, trust me, hes very human
like all of us.]
Media is about messaging. And the messaging that the U.S.
as a country has been giving has been mostly measured in body
counts and images of Blackhawks swooping across foreign landscapes.
However my brother, his daughter Theresa, and Kevin represent
another side of the American face. They are important messagers
of the other part of the U.S., the part that is giving, caring
and oriented to building, not destroying. They are joined
by thousands of others who are doing the same thing, being
individual ambassadors of a different face of America.
This was brought home the day after Kevins party at
the Malones weekly Friends Meeting. One of the people
who spoke was a woman who had spent her life living abroad
as her husband was in the diplomatic corps. She held
Kevin to the light for going into the Peace Corps; in
her experience they were the best face of the United States.
Our mothers taught us: actions speak louder than words. It
is a lesson to be remembered as we, as individuals and as
a country, travel abroad or formulate our foreign policy.
We are known for what we do. That is the message in the media.