Let me start off with the hashtag #inb4.
In before you call me a typical left wing, green loving socialist piece of shit.
In before you tell me I have no morals or no interest in real stories.
In before you tell me my industry is dying and all I do is report “fake” news.
The list goes on. And to be honest, I don’t blame you for thinking that way.
Even my own degree at university taught me to be critical of the media. We would sit and discuss the horrid headlines, the unbelievable mistreatment of victims and often slump our heads into our palms and think: where did it all go wrong?
Because stories matter.
Because change is key.
Because the truth is essential.
And because it must be told, even at a cost. #ImAJournalistBecause I was born to be one. #ImAJournalistBecause nothing else, besides the facts, makes sense.#WorldPressFreedomDay pic.twitter.com/qc72XxgNh8
— Wajahat S. Khan (@WajSKhan) May 3, 2018
I may have made a transition after my degree to a completely different one entering the field of nursing – but I will always continue my journalism practice, and this is why.
Nowadays, anyone can claim to be a “journalist”. If you have a Twitter account, a smart phone, and can string a sentence together, you’re considered a storyteller. I refuse to acknowledge this as journalism. With technology rapidly replacing traditional forms of media, I cannot help but feel sorrow for those individuals who got into the industry with the intent of creating good and telling the truth.
#ImAJournalistBecause there’s so much good in the world just waiting to be revealed.
— Sarah Buynovsky WNEP (@SarahBuynovsky) May 2, 2018
Media moguls monopolising on click bait, superficial articles, mind numbing breakfast talk shows, and for what? Money… power… and control of the masses.
Our perception of the media today has dramatically changed. Too many are locked away in newsrooms fighting for the first grab of an interview; they are not interested in the rest of the conversation. They get what they need to appeal to the political agenda of their network and their pay cheque is signed.
It is both disheartening and quite comical that people from a communications degree are the ones miscommunicating the news we hear today. What story can you write in 300 words or less? Who can you interview in five minutes so that you can move onto the next? How fast can you get this story out to the public? This wave of technology may distribute content faster. But the content is often wrong, sensationalised, and not at all produced with the public’s interest at heart.
#ImAJournalistBecause I was nosiest kid. That turned into a internship where I fell in love with the profession: the pursuit of truth, the exhausting process of getting it right, all the time, and reality that journalism as a public service is the most fulfilling work. https://t.co/7Ia1vwCdEu
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) May 3, 2018
I became a journalist to listen and learn from those around me. Those who I knew had stories to tell. Those whose voices could and would not be heard unless someone was able to sit down and help them do so. Real people, real insight into worlds that some may never have known existed. The intent has always been to carefully and ethically construct information with effort, and appreciation for those willing to share their hardship or joy. It is not to pick apart an event and present what our chain-in-command thinks will sell and produce ratings.
Those stories take time. It is unfortunate that with the way the industry is going, those stories will never see the light of day. The obsession and competition to produce a story in five minutes over a day’s work, gathering necessary and accurate information, is where our journalism practice has gone wrong.
I hold my first degree to heart, and can confidently say I believe that there are wonderful, real journalists that exist. Those who can see through the bullshit, the ratings, the sea of microphones and Twitter blasts. I want those who distrust the media to be very critical in what you read, but to not paint us all with the same brush. Journalism, much like nursing, is a lifestyle. It is a plethora of characteristics possessed by an individual, with the idea to serve communities with care, compassion, and integrity. It is a job that is not nine to five. It is not something we just switch off when the script on the teleprompter ends. It has impact when done correctly.
And I encourage anyone who wants to become a journalist, to reflect on their own story, before writing about anyone else’s.