This past week was huge in terms of updates in media. Lately, the U.S. has been concerned with events in Syria, Gaza, Palestine, Ukraine, and other overseas locations, but there were some pretty big shake-ups on the home front too. In terms of coverage, generations of Americans are grieving the loss of comedian and award-winning actor, Robin Williams. Traditional media sources such as cable news networks, newspapers, and radio stations, have been updating facts surrounding the star’s death on a daily basis.
There were other events that deserved more attention than they actually received this week as well. Last Saturday, in Ferguson, Missouri, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer. I’m not here to discuss the rights and wrongs and morality of the incident–that is up to each individual person to decide for him or herself. Instead, I wish to discuss how powerful the tool of media was (or could have been) during such an event.
If you’re not familiar with the event, educate yourself. Outrage over the shooting and handling of the late Michael Brown’s body prompted protesting from Ferguson citizens as well as increased police force, involving restricting the limits of the town, military-grade weapons and tear gas as a means of crowd control. Citizens began looting overnight. It was pure chaos. And yet no one knew.
The police even restricted journalism outlets from reporting there, and in some cases, arrested journalists. Most of the news of the Ferguson situation came from social media. As a journalist, I often hear from more experienced reporters that the advent of online technology, social media, and the blogosphere makes for a decline in real journalism as well as increase the struggle of actually getting paid. When I think of the dwindling newspaper industry, I can’t help but agree. Coverage in Ferguson, however, renewed my belief of journalism.
The sole goal of journalism is not “How can I get paid for this story?” The goal of journalism is to inform the public of what is happening in their world. Period.
Events from Ferguson gave us powerful informative reports by the people who were there. Forget about trying to make the words sound pretty. Just tell us what is happening. That is real journalism.
A range of emotions captured in a single image.
The parallels drawn between now and the history we seem doomed to repeat.
Updates on a dynamic situation.
That is real journalism.
I am not looking forward to the job hunt after college in my chosen field. At times, it seems only to favor those with money to spare. But as far as being concerned about the state of journalism, the problem isn’t that it is dying; the problem is being overwhelmed with the possibility that is growing bigger. And believe me, there are worse problems to have.