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It’s time to start paying attention to journalism


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By EMILY SEPPELT

The Mirror reporter

As you may or may not have noticed, the last two years in American politics, has been a bit, well, chaotic. And it’s not just politics either. Our culture is rapidly changing, there seems to be an increase in violence, despite evidence to the contrary, and in general, life and world-changing events appear to come at us so rapidly that we can barely register them before everyone has moved on.

This is just one of the reasons why now, again, good- no, exceptional– journalism is more important than anything. I truly believe that journalism is one of the driving forces of change, progress, and truth in this country. Yet many people have a very negative view of the institution of journalism and news for a variety of reasons.

Part of the reason for this view is the lack of in-depth, solid stories. With the 24-hour news cycle, people’s brains have been conditioned to want short, quick summaries of everything. However, the 24-hour news cycle has been around for years, so that can’t be the whole reason.

The main reason is people’s general distaste for government and a more cynical view of the world. Not to mention the hot button phrase of 2017- fake news.

I find this cynical outlook and distaste for journalism quite disheartening because I know that journalism has a beautiful and powerful history in this country. There have been many times where journalism has changed the course of politics and culture in America. Just look back on Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the Washington Post, who broke- and continued to break- the story of Watergate. Their investigations and story writing led to a hearing in Congress, and eventually in part to the resignation of the President of the United States of America.

We can’t forget the more modern breakthrough, also by the Washington Post, in 2001, who exposed the rampant problem of sexual assault and abuse across America in Catholic Churches, covered up by the church. Both of these stories changed culture so much and were so big that they had movies based on them. (All the President’s Men and Spotlight– I highly recommend them)

This type of journalism is needed more now than anytime before and journalists are working hard to make the truth available to us. With a current President, who I feel, is equal and/or worse than Nixon, they have got their work cut out for them. Trump has made his press briefings shorter, less accessible, and shorter than any other modern president has. His press secretaries have been absolutely horrible (I won’t even bring up Sean Spicer), and some briefings have even banned TV broadcasting. It is also proven that he made thousands of purely false statements just in 2017.

The first action dictators take is to take away the right to a Free Press. Yet journalists never stop putting themselves in danger in order to bring us news of atrocities being committed. They literally go into war zones and riots to keep us updated so we can act.

The problem is not enough people are paying attention to this issue. We all have the to a right to Free Press given to us in the Constitution, and it is slowly slipping away, partly due to the Trump administration, but also partly due to us, the citizens of this country. If we don’t step up and do our part, good journalism and the pursuit of the truth will fade away, and we’ll be one more step closer to a dictatorship. We need to read and watch trustworthy reporters again, and protest when their rights are taken away.

It’s time to get involved. Protest. Make your voices heard. Raise other’s voices. Read.

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1 Comment

One Response to “It’s time to start paying attention to journalism”

  1. Tim on March 14th, 2018 2:53 PM

    Trump has not yet tried anything to actually limit first amendment rights, unlike John Adams who passed the Alien and Sedition acts, making “False statements” critical of the government illegal. He has criticized and smeared news organizations, but those are as within his first amendment rights as it is for them to criticize him.

    Real journalism is important, just as it is important to check the sources of your news. I wouldn’t trust Fox News or CNN to be entirely unbiased, Fox News often admits that they have a conservative bias with no shame. You need to be careful of sources when reading news.

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It’s time to start paying attention to journalism