Reporters and Readers are seeking the same truth
I must admit, I do not epitomize all that is virtuous and ethical, but I try. I am not a Mecca of sagacity, but what I have experienced, what I do know, is that people are capable of horrible things. I recently lived in New York City where every day I watched the media, like some hungry shadow monster, eat away at the minds of people, corroding the better parts of what humanity is capable of. Here in Bend, we see it in the news every day. Whether it is a corporation stealing money from its constituents, or a politician setting civil rights back a few decades, atrocity stares at us in the face from every grocery store news rack. This is why I aspire to be a journalist, and not because I get satisfaction from the excitement of exposing fraud and corruption. I aim to become a journalist because I seek truth. Semantics aside, I believe when ambiguity and ignorance is absent, people then have a distinct choice. This is what journalism can give to people, and this is what journalism should accomplish.
“There is room in this great and growing city for a journal that is not only cheap but bright, not only bright but large, not only large but truly democratic, dedicated to the cause of the people rather than that of the purse potentates, devoted more to the news of the New than the Old World that will expose all fraud and sham, fight all public evils and abuses, that will sever and battle for the people with earnest sincerity.” This was written by Joseph Pulitzer, the man behind the Pulitzer Prize. Joseph Pulitzer also was the force behind yellow journalism. Yellow journalism is a type of journalism headlining that can deceive audiences and exaggerate stories, leaving legitimacy behind.
I often hear newsreaders speak poorly about journalism. They may say that the news concentrates on negative aspects of the world instead of focusing on stories that are virtuous and good for the people. Who really is to blame for the onslaught of negativity? The public generally likes to watch television and movies with death, turmoil, and horrible events. Readers should look at the media, the bastard child of journalism. The media, being different than journalism, never takes an unbiased stance. I personally do not blame journalism for the concentration on negativity; I blame the populace who hunger for sensational stories. Yes, bad events play out, and people do bad things.
If we look to the history of our own college, we can see a keen example. Taffy Gleason, a former editor and chief of the Broadside in the early 90’s, exposed a ski coach for falsifying his credentials. In the same month the president of the college, Fredrick Boyle, was requiring all teachers at COCC to get PHDs. There was speculation that Boyle knew about the coach’s fake credentials when the coach was hired.
“The goal of Journalism is truth, objectivity, fact finding, telling the story as truthfully as you possibly can.” said Gleason. When asked if she had thought twice about publishing the article that ended the coach’s teaching career Gleason frankly said, “Of course not, it was the truth,”
When people are educated by news, they have the choice to act. Whether a college newspaper writes about the lack of childcare or the New York Times writes about corporate gain at the expense of the people, journalism provides a decision. People can choose to create change or they can choose to just sit by.
It’s not my job as a journalist to make the choice for the people, it is my job to show people that they have a choice.
You may contact Eric Ercanbrack at firstname.lastname@example.org