I Believe Reprise

At the start of the semester, I stated that “journalism has the potential to prevent corruption.” I still think journalism plays a critical role in exposing corruption. I also think people have the rights to hear about any occurrence where one in a position of power uses that for self-gain, or irresponsibly. Journalists are often the ones to do so, and even when documents are leaked it is the news who spreads and contextualizes them. My belief in the power of news organizations as watchdogs was reaffirmed by the 2008 New York times articles, which illustrates that even as news organizations downsize they continue to present important information. I do not believe, however, that journalism is the only main actor in fighting corruption. I think our system has to shift dramatically for that to occur, and ultimately there has to be a will greater than anything articles can directly produce.  “The internet allows for the easier spread of “fake” news.” – I would add that not only does the internet make it easier to spread “fake” news, but the internet also encourages sensationalized news. With this new platform, many feel that exaggerated writing is the only writing that will catch the eyes of readers, even when that writing may not be providing truly relevant information. I have also learned that what is relevant is subjective, and that many journalists feel it is not their place to make that judgement.  “There is much we can learn from journalism of the past.” – Though our class was not very history-oriented per se, I still believe this to be true. One thing that separates a news article from a book or paper is the way news stories tend to be contextualized, which is with a very modern and focused lens. While this may make it harder to infer larger, historical, trends, this style of writing provides a uniquely specific look at a snapshot in time. This is one of that many reasons I think news is valuable to revisit.  “News sources can polarize people.” – I still agree with this statement, but I struggle with its wording. I believe news sources are always polarizing people. Every second of every day, thousands read articles who reaffirm their biases, and fuel their hatred for the opposition. I would not change my statement to always, however. This class has driven home how complicated stories can be. Especially as we discussed coal, I felt the pain of the miners. Though I still believe in the end of coal, hearing their perspectives gave me a new appreciation for the fragility of the issue. These stories also have brought me to realize how important one’s circumstances are to their beliefs. In the case of the mining towns, their greatest need was income, income traditionally brought by coal. The issues relevant to me in this past political election were far different.  “News has the potential to bring people together.” – I still agree with this statement from the beginning of the semester, but I think I now have a clearer idea of how news can do this, and what for. When I first said this, I mostly had in mind social organization. I also think news can help people understand each other’s struggles, and by leading readers to see the complexities of an issue, give them more respect for opposing views.  “My greatest challenge as a journalist is remembering not to pursue a specific argument, but to consider all major opinions and variables.” – I found this to be somewhat true as I write my news feature. Though I do consider multiple arguments, in my first draft I think my tone suggests that switching to the Cisco ecosystem is the obvious choice. While this may well be true, I would still like to try to leave that up to the reader as much as possible. I have also found that an equally great challenge for me is not writing like a scientist. I have a tendency to focus extensively on the ecological history of an issue, not leaving enough time for the other components of a story.  “Journalists can help serve as the essential connection between academics, particularly scientists, and the masses.” – This class has reinforced my belief in this statement, especially after our “scientists vs journalists” class. Though there is often tension between the two, I think that as journalists, covering science writing is extremely important, and can be highly rewarding. Journalists just have to respect the wishes of the scientists involved, double check before making a statement about the findings or implications of their work, and like in all good journalism, hear from multiple voices.


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