I Believe Reflection

1. I believe that the future of news leans heavily toward polarized online articles.

2. I believe that the biggest opportunity facing news organizations today is that the internet allows so much more sharing of information and journalists get to reach significantly more people in a wider region.

3. I believe that my greatest strength as a journalist is my genuine, impassioned concern for the goings-on of the world.

4. I believe that my greatest challenge as a journalist is my liberal bias, which I find difficult to shake; I should be more open-minded and neutral.

5. I believe that interviewing people about news is sometimes saddening because so many people are uninformed.

6. I believe that the best journalism has a sense of originality, presenting a new expert or angle that makes it truly newsworthy.

7. I believe that the most challenging thing about being a journalist is that you can spend hours on research, hunting down elusive experts and officials to interview and slaving over something near and dear to your heart, only to see it go unpublished, unread, already covered, or completely ignored.

8. I believe that the role professional news organizations play in my life will increase as I become more politically active and environmentally aware.

9. I believe that writing for the general public always infuriates somebody; no one can make everyone happy.

10. I believe that the biggest problem with journalism today is that certain, often trivial, topics, from Donald Trump’s hair to Kanye’s announced presidential campaign for 2020, attract more readers than important articles about Obamacare, ISIS, or Trump’s actual platform.

Looking back on the “I believe” statements that I made the first week of the semester, I am firstly astonished at my cynicism! For whatever reason, I had been disappointed enough in the field of journalism to believe that all articles are biased, that Americans care more about celebrities than actual news, and that the public was overall largely uninformed. After our class field trips – especially the one to Detroit Free Press – I think my confidence in our journalistic ability and ability to create and spread news is admirable. When Julie, Emilia, and all of our speakers come up and tell their stories, suddenly I realize that news really is getting out. It was incredible to be in the heart of it – to ‘break’ the Flint water crisis with an activist in our own classroom, to visit the place where the VW scandal was uncovered. Even when conducting my own interviews, I found that I was really telling an important story, uncovering new information, and helping give a voice people who would not have otherwise been heard.

I still believe that an online emphasis is important for up and coming journalists, and I think this class really did a nice job of emphasizing that. The blog itself taught me how even writing online can be beneficial, and we had very thorough discussions about the advantages of writing online – from adding hyperlinks to interactive media.

As far as my greatest weakness went, my liberal bias ended up being far less of an issue than I ever anticipated. I found it easy to be a neutral player in my news feature and let the interviewees and statistics stand for themselves.

Also, after taking the class I definitely concur with belief #7. I saw many an interview go to waste, and even just hearing the anecdotes from Emilia and Julie revealed that not every news story goes your way. Even though I did have a last-minute change to my news feature, I feel that despite obstacles I created a piece that is genuinely original, complete, and newsworthy. My time and effort feels like it definitely paid off.

Overall, I would say that Environ 320 helped to revamp my confidence and trust in the news and the field of journalism and reduce some of the cynicism that had built up. I was inspired by the topics my peers chose to tackle and the interviews they had the courage to conduct, as well as the many impassioned speakers who came in and out of our classroom. Overall, I’ve realized that there are many, many stories to be told, and they can be told in a much wider range of ways than I had ever anticipated.

One thing from the class that I won’t forget, however, was the discussion in the news room about the use of the N-word. I had never considered such meta decisions that news corporations have to take into account, and sitting in on that meeting certainly brought the front page into a new light.


About rbeglin

University of Michigan Class of 2018, Program in the Environment Major

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