I have been reading a lot of articles concerning the national debate on why it is journalism seems to be dying out. Media experts and journalists alike all have their own viewpoints and recommendations for the swift retrieval of a world that may already be gone.
One article was an interview of a former journalist turned fiction writer. She said that as a journalist she wasn’t really able to share the truth, because everything was staged for her as a journalist. She had decided that she would write her own books and therefore form her own truth. (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/voices/a-writer-leaves-journalism-to-find-truth-in-fiction/1159/)
While I found her “angle” to be intriguing-I found it to be just that: an angle. Though unique and different in form the interview didn’t exactly seem genuine to me. But what most struck me is that journalism is, if anything, perspective. While a journalist can follow a musician or a general into their own separate worlds, there is no real path to knowing that world unless one has walked it themselves.
I have written many stories about the immigrants in my community and their battles, but the truth is I know nothing of their struggle. I can only listen and perceive to the best of my ability and hope that I can convey those powerful emotions and pictures to my audience.
Journalism has lost its luster because it seeks to remain in the old instead of reinventing itself. Journalists are far too interested in being the first to break news. The integrity of journalism has been forfeited for pretty faces on TV and back-biting Twitter comments online.
Months ago when the Army doctor went crazy and began shooting on base, killing officers, someone on the inside was busy sending Tweets to the world-and they were false. Journalists on the outside jumped on these 140 character news blimps and they were published. Why? For the generated effect.
Journalism has become the teenage child who seeks to gain thrill by shocking his/her mother.
I don’t watch TV, and I haven’t for years. The apartment I moved into months ago has a steady stream of it coming right into the little television that was left in the apartment. I have occasionally turned it on, but only for mindless matter, before cussing myself over wasted time.
The news is something I never watch. It always looks surreal to me, the here and there of the camera between speakers, the drama in their tone and the headlines zooming by underneath. Just what Americans need. And what is all that really about anyway?
I saw a perfect example of why journalism is falling apart in my ethics class this spring. My professor played a few minutes of an interview that a news journalist conducted with a woman who is part of an extreme Christian group. These folks flaunt their signs near army bases and whatnot saying that the dying of those in the war is the hand of God because America is not obeying Him.
I am a Christian myself and I thought these people were outrageous. Their viewpoints dangle from the threads of hate and are every bit as deadly as the terrorists we fear.
The interview began immediately with the interviewer going after the woman demanding to know why she believed is was good for people to die and how could that be sane. The woman responded and tried to speak, but the journalist continued going after her, berating her and telling her she was nuts. It wasn’t long before he brought on another “specialist” (in nothing really) and he too was just as belligerent.
I could never agree with that woman, but at that moment I saw how foolish journalism has become.
Had I been the interviewer I would have asked her the who, what, where, when, why in an effort to understand how she came to feel and believe her viewpoints. As a journalist I would have wanted to “try” and understand, regardless of how much I disliked or disagreed with it.
I would have given my audience the fairest chance I could, to see all sides and make their own decision.
I think most journalists set out to be objective, but then fall into routine and the zapping of time. Also, with jobs on the line the need to drum up a fantastic story has increased.
The journalist and his so-called specialist ended up looking like a bunch of buffoons jumping up and down over something that was already obnoxious. The woman seemed more in control of her opinions than the ones goading her for it.
Journalism shares perspective and should be respectful. Our reputations have been tarnished by the overzealous and while many are seeking to re-brand and dress different, we only need to once again become humble and serve our communities.
Jumping into the media world is a necessity and we must educate ourselves with the know-how of Internet, computers, Twitter, Facebook, etc. so that we can remain on effective in our ever-changing world. But the significance of journalism’s integrity must be regained.
The best stories of today are being untold, they are lost or hidden on back pages because journalists are looking for something larger, when the gold is beneath our feet.
Headline stories are just that-here today and gone tomorrow, but good reporting makes a lasting impression.
What is your take on the world of journalism?