Being a journalist is hard. That sounds a great deal like the whiny complaints you hear often enough these days, but that’s not the way I meant it at all.
It’s just a statement of fact broken down into its simplest terms. I could have said it any other way with big words and in a long-winded soliloquy of sorts, but sometimes just stating a thing in its simplest form gets right to the heart of the matter.
The field of journalism has experienced a double digit decrease in this country in the last few years and has even been cited in some publications as the worst job in America. Personally, I don’t think it’s the worst but the challenges the perfect storm in our society is creating makes someone in my position look at it all and wonder why we bother.
This perfect storm is having its affect on almost everyone, all walks of life, and makes me wonder what’s happening to the world I used to live in.
We have become a society of knee-jerk reactions and little logic, thought being replaced by emotion and outrage over everything. People today almost seem perpetually poised to take offense in disregard of fact, always teetering between calm and outright anger, physically twitching like a house cat prepared to pounce and destroy.
In my opinion this is a reflection of the disconnected state of individuals with an evolving society based on the many, not the few, a government out of control in its eagerness to accommodate everyone no matter the cost, and a social media driven lifestyle where the individual is the star of his or her own reality show.
The national television media has not provided a great deal to the world of journalism and has only contributed to the negative outlook on journalism. Major networks are in a conundrum of their own creation and have lost sight of what their responsibilities are by 24×7 programming and creating entertainment because, let’s face it, covering news on a never-ending basis means you have to manufacture programming.
Meanwhile, there is no disclaimer about the programming and what is being sold as “journalism” is tabloid television.
The result? Confusion. Viewers see opinion as fact and the talking heads are glad to present opinion as fact because there is no real accountability. So all journalists are painted in the same broad brush.
But here are a few facts:
True journalists don’t write to please the reader. It’s not about that.
An opinion/editorial piece and a news story are not the same thing,
Despite popular opinion, journalists have nothing to gain by manufacturing stories. Those days are long gone with the advent of the internet.
Just because a website has “news” in its name somewhere or holds itself out to be a news outlet doesn’t make it so.
Having an understanding of how journalism works as a consumer isn’t a bad idea. It certainly helps in not only choosing where to get your news but also in how to read it.
In truth, this is an awesome profession. In reality, the very essence of the profession has turned upon itself and the reading public is no longer doing so with regard but with a preconceived punitive outlook.
Being a journalist is hard, but so is digging ditches, roofing homes, street repair, tax preparation, and working for tips in a diner. But, no matter the profession — and they’re all hard in one way or another — as long as when the day is done you feel good about how you did it, then that’s enough.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.