This past weekend I had the fantastic opportunity of attending the National College Media Convention in Washington D.C. There, they were selling shirts and sweatshirts with the saying “Journalism matters. Now more than ever” printed on them.
This, combined with a recent Facebook post I’ve seen about news not being reliable, got me thinking that we, as a society, need to have a serious talk about the role of journalism and media play.
Journalism is SO important to our country. As Americans, we pride ourselves on our freedoms, one of which is freedom of the press. This means that the press is able to print what they want without governmental intervention. This allows the media, and the people, to keep the government in check.
Without the freedom of the press who says the Watergate Scandal wouldn’t have been swept under the rug by the Nixon administration? Perhaps Nixon would have gone on to serve a second term, but thankfully, the press was there to report the wrong-doings and let Americans know what is happening within their government. The press is the link between everyday civilians and our government, and even the rest of the world.
Without journalism, we would be left in the dark about so many important issues. Everything you know about what is happening in this world is from some source of journalism. Yes, this mostly includes the news you get off of twitter because their source is usually from a news site if it’s not a news site itself tweeting.
In the era of “fake news,” it is becoming increasingly harder for people to see the importance of journalism. However, this doesn’t stop the press. There are still hundreds of great, reputable news outlets that are motivated even further by fake news claims to find the truth and report it.
In fact, this isn’t the first time the idea of “fake news” has been brought into the spotlight. In the late 1890s “yellow journalism,” or sensationalism, was a big concern however, the society was able to move past this. Despite the claims, the United States continued to rely upon journalists during both World Wars and the countless amount of elections that came after this era.
This shows that when push comes to shove journalists fight these fake news and yellow journalism claims with the truth, and in the end, they win.
Imagine a world where citizens wouldn’t have found out about the 9/11 attacks until months later, or where citizens would blindly elect politicians based solely upon the speeches they give.
In fact, there are countries that don’t have freedom of the press and Americans tend to find these countries absurd. For example, North Korea. North Korea is a communist country in which the government controls the press and what news its citizens receive. Most Americans find this idea appalling that a government can keep its people so in the dark. Yet, when their own press in the United States is under attack, they say nothing.
News and newspapers, since the founding of our country, have played such an important role. Without newspapers, it can be argued that the constitution would never have been signed. It allows people to share ideas, spread the truth and expose injustices.
A world without journalism would be a dark, ignorant world.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.