May 20, 2014

The Death of Journalism. ~ Jen Weddle


newspaper journalism

I scan the words once more in a caffeinated state of mind. This is my third cup and my hands shake as they lay next to the keyboard in a defeated manner.

“Is it perfect?”

“Am I conveying the truth of the matter?”

“Were my sources and their quotes intriguing enough to keep the story flowing?”

Journalism is dying. Everyone knows it, but there’s still something honest and respectable about the field. When I think about the height of journalism, when we could say/write/convey our truths and other people’s storiesthat would have been the ideal time to choose this path. But now, where are we?

In the 80s, the downward decline of Journalism began. Many like to blame the Internet, but the fact is that large corporations were buying newspapers long before the rise of the Internet and bloggers. These corporations spent millions and billions of dollars on consolidation. The newsrooms didn’t know how to continue giving them their cut of profit so in order to keep the big companies happy; they started cutting journalists and eliminating jobs.

Now we are forced to remain silent in empty town meetings with our pen and paper, waiting on a story… but if a “real” story breaks we may not be able to use it. The space is limited and so is the information. It’s either the stories that have to run or press releases that are paid for that get inserted into most print papers.

The death of print, as I’m well aware, is only a matter of time.

We crave information that’s faster then the speed of light, but then the story is inaccurate and we lose credibility.

Even journalism has been corrupted by greed and money.

“If it isn’t making a dollar, then why even bother.”

I can hear the corporate-minded folks say in their leather chairs, as they swivel with their hands firmly rested on their heads in a winning gesture. They’re winning, but we’re not.

I’ve often heard the words, “My hands are tied.” What does that even mean? Physically/literally/metaphorically, I don’t see any ropes on your hands. I just want to tell people the real news, not the maddening fluff of school events and town meetings. The stuff that has to be covered, but people aren’t interested in.

We do what we’re told but inside our blood boils.

We need to slow down and take a moment to relax. To remember that we’re the ones in charge. To flip the pages and scan the words and read headlines that matter for once. To not fear losing our jobs in “bad” economies and “dying” industries.

We need to be free to say how we feel. To write what we know, without being afraid of “stepping on someone’s toes.”

Journalism needs to remain in the hands of its citizens and not the wallets of its corporations.

But like all things, journalism isn’t dying: it’s metamorphosing to the only place young and old journalists alike know is still free from corruptionthe Internet. For now.

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Apprentice Editor: Jen Weddle / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Mustafa Khayat/Flickr


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