Thoughts from a Journalist: The importance of news

By Jessa Glassman ’20
Spectrum Fake News Art
Graphic by Hannah Mittleman ’20

In an era where the media is tightening its grip on every consumer, journalism often gets jumbled up in its power, causing it to enter murky waters. The evolution of news is tremendous, starting with periodicals made by letterpress printers, going on to newspapers delivered by bicycles and all the way to broadcasting and websites updated hourly. We can even receive updates on news from anywhere in the world in minutes through a simple tweet. While this has many obvious advantages, it also has some unfortunate aspects.

When we get two sentence notifications that come right to our pockets, the value and need for print journalism is eliminated. It becomes too routine to just scan quick blurb summaries of news that we cannot bring ourselves to read physical copies of newspapers in their entirety or wait until Sunday to purchase one. Over the years, consumers have craved more condensed news that they can read on the go while sitting on the public bus, on the way to work or while waiting in line for a morning cup of coffee. For journalists everywhere, adapting to this new demand while still making a profit is extremely difficult.

Numbers in the journalism industry are smaller than many would think, and they are what have lead to its so-called “death”. We have moved into an age that focuses entirely on internet presence, and while we might be saving trees, there are not many other benefits to this transition.

The growth of online news and media has led to many issues involving consumers’ suspicions. When news stations align with a certain political party or when they target a specific political audience, questions regarding the credibility and the objectivity of their content are raised. This issue has received more publicity than before because of the politically charged times and recent election controversy. Claims of fake news have been seen significantly more than ever before.

As a journalist, it is my job to report the news in the most objective way possible so that I can deliver my audience the facts without my own personal take on them. It is immensely important to acknowledge the fact that the ethics of journalism have been called into question, not only for problems involving incorrect reporting, but also sensationalism and writing stories for profit. Certain news channels, papers and websites often cover stories that will grant them the largest audience and not the stories that are most relevant or that need to be written. This is apparent when we see articles about celebrities closer to the cover than articles about real world issues. News stations also can exaggerate facts, make assumptions and blow things out of proportion. For instance, creating a front page story with a headline that talks about a divorce rumor or an abuse claim that is not based on evidence. This yellow journalism is problematic because newspapers and news sources evolve into something that they should not be.

As someone who works on a newspaper full of writers who are passionate about journalism, it is imperative to recognize the problems that the journalism industry is currently facing. Training writers who can reflect favorable journalistic ethics and who can also adapt to their audience is important so that we can carry on the profession. Reinforcing the momentousness of newspapers, magazines or anything else that falls under this category is our job, as we are their future. Even despite this, good training and learning how to satisfy consumers while making a profit and while still appealing to the ethical toolkit is of the utmost importance and needs to be taught and reinforced so that journalism can continue.

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