Journalism’s higher purpose

There is a general mistrust of journalists; indeed, such wariness has been and always will be very present because of human nature and journalism’s imperfect track record. Journalism, at its heart, strives to share important and relevant information with people, and the reporting usually originates from a journalist’s innate desire to seek the truth and report it.

Therefore, it would be very unlikely to find someone who completely trusts the reporting of any journalist or news outlet they are not thoroughly familiar with. Because of this, most people have ambivalent feelings about reported news; they may look for it if some important or horrific event transpires, but most never realize, let alone admire, the work journalism performs.

Personally, my appreciation for journalism has only developed further from my recent experience writing for FMU’s newspaper, “The Patriot.”

There is no better motivator for respecting this kind of work than seeing the inside processes of putting together an issue of a newspaper; it is the composite work of writers, editors, photographers and layout editors who actively seek and report events to their readers.

Many people, myself included, will concede that some news outlets have dishonest reasons for publishing their materials; however, I certainly do not disregard the crucial role journalism plays in our society or its apparent role of providing hopefully accurate information.

While journalism and those active in it are often given a bad reputation and considered unreliable or intrusive, if they did not persistently strive to share information, people would likely be ignorant of important events.

In reality, this distrust of reported news leads people to become truth-seekers themselves, for if journalists did not cover events and share the information, then a society could not be fully aware of what transpires locally, nationally or even globally.

The lack of information available from anything but news outlets that they distrust could either lead them to be apathetic about the current and past events or to grow restless with nothing to satiate their curiosity about politics, health issues or safety concerns that are relevant to them.

My opinion about journalism is influenced by my own interest in pursuing a career as a journalist; I want to discover stories of various natures, investigate them and their minute details, and then share them because of their relevance to others and myself.

To be honest, I sometimes think the negative public opinions about pursuing a career in journalism does not reside with the journalists as much as it does with the organizations that use their work. Because journalists have to sacrifice so much, even their own financial interests, to be in the field, I cannot see how these professionals could then distort the stories they are dedicated to report truthfully.

Perhaps not knowing the extent of journalism’s purpose leads people to neither view it holistically nor see that it benefits them in more ways than one. Journalism is designed not to glorify the journalist, but to serve the public. At its heart, it is supposed to be selfless and provide a medium for the public to access and interpret the world around them.