I was a little miffed when I saw the comment, “Journalism is dead,” on a message board regarding Michele Bachmann’s infamous debut on the cover of Newsweek. The comment came in retaliation of the presidential candidate posing for the camera under the headline, “Queen of Rage.”
It’s sad that so many people agreed with this statement. Comments such as, “Journalists only want to sell stories,” and “They don’t really care about the real news,” made my skin crawl.
As a journalist, I take those comments personally. People are entitled to their opinions, but too many people tend to see all journalists that way. They accuse us of caring more about selling papers than getting the real story.
When I decided to become a journalist, it was because I wanted people to know the truth. And if the truth hurts, well, that’s just the way it is.
Many writers call themselves journalists without giving much thought to what a true journalist is. Bloggers jot down their opinions of the days’ events and consider themselves journalists. But there is more to being a journalist than just writing.
Journalism not only consists of reporting the news and getting the facts straight, it also involves dedication, compassion, perseverance, and integrity on the part of the journalist.
While Newsweek may have misled the public with its flamboyant cover, the outrage that the cover was sexist was unfounded. According to Roland Martin, contributor for CNN, if anything, the magazine, “should be ripped to shreds because the photo doesn’t even go with the headline, ‘Queen of Rage.'” Martin went on to say that he also wondered if this news was more important than the looming financial crisis.
Sometimes we journalists make choices that aren’t consistent with the appeal of the masses, but we shouldn’t be condemned for it. It’s tough trying to make everyone happy. It’s silly to think we can.
And besides; controversy is good. It gets people talking.
Journalism is not dead. Sometimes it’s just in a coma.