What is Journalism

I joined the journalism club in college, and at the first meeting of the semester, I learned that journalists occupy a very special place in society.  Since “the pen is mightier than the sword”, journalists were the opinion shapers of the society.  It was up to us to make sure, basically, that righteousness would be established in the country.  Our job was to point out all the evil in society and make sure that right prevailed.  It sounded like superhero stuff to me.  I was kind of a soft hearted person who was very attracted to stories of people who were suffering in this world, and I was convinced my writing would make their lives better.

Further into the semester, I realized that to please my professors, my stories had to have a solution.  I had to tell the reader what needed to be done to solve the problem I had uncovered.  And it wasn’t any good to get various opinions on a solution and leave the conclusion to my reader, I was to mold the reader’s opinion as to what was right in the situation.

Today the media is widely considered to be biased.  The only way to get at some kind of middle ground is to read a lot of sources, and try to find truth.  But how many people have time to do that?  So many get all their news from one source, and as a result have their opinion shaped.  But why is the media so biased?  They are the products of that journalism education I experienced, which makes it the job of the journalist, or television journalist to be an opinion shaper, not one who uncovers facts.

Ultimately I left journalism for another field.  I was constantly in trouble because the more I searched the more I saw there were two sides to every story, and my professors were not happy with that.  I am happy for the education I received up to that point, because I did learn reasonable mastery of the English language, and I retained an inquiring mind.  These have both served me well in life, if not in what today defines journalism.

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