Archive | January, 2012

On Journalism

17 Jan

What is Journalism?

I heard it said once that journalism is the “first rough draft of history”, and as far as I’m concerned, that is the best definition ever given, because Journalism, in its essence, is simply the telling of tomorrow’s history. I was only eight years old when the Twin Towers were hit, but I have a vivid memory of the news coverage that day. My younger brother, however, was four. He doesn’t remember anything about that day, but he’s seen the video. Because of journalism, he, and other kids his age can understand a little bit of what the rest of us felt that day. It allowed the rest of us on the other side of the country to try to connect with the victims, their families, and the citizens of New York on that trying day. Journalism is an outlet that allows us to be a part of history, and connect with people around the world.

I understand that not every story is as ground breaking as 9/11, but I still think it can be said that journalism is at the very least, a record. Sadly, hardly anyone writes in journals anymore, and 10,000 years from now, when they look back on our generation, I truly believe that the newspapers, the newscasts, and the blogs are going to be what they use to document what it was like to live in 2011.

Journalism is also a safeguard. It’s a protection against corrupt government, and a defender of democracy. Journalists keep the government in check and attempt to keep them honest if they are allowed to give the news freely, without censorship. I look at what’s going on in North Korea post-Kim Jong-il, and it makes me cringe. The press is forced to worship a leader that left them starving and poverty-stricken. Calling him anything less than perfect is impermissible. Corruption thrives when there is no one to speak up against it.

Journalism is so important. It connects people from all walks of life, and gives a voice to those who would otherwise have none. It’s essential to democracy. It helps us remember where we’ve been, where we’re going, and perhaps where we’d like to go. It’s the first draft of history. Continue reading