Journalism is Dead!

I am old enough to remember a time when television actually went off the air at midnight. There was no cable box with hundreds of channels to choose from. There was simply CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox (later on), and PBS. Oh, how things have changed! In that same vain, I remember the news broadcasts and the personalities connected to them. Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and other like them. These were the faces and the voices that we relied upon to tell us what was happening in our nation and in the world.

With those voices came a certain level of journalistic integrity. Across the board you were given a balanced and honest report on our politics and our community’s concerns. However, with the introduction of social media, it appears that journalism as we know it is dead. While most of us got our news from the television or the newspaper (remember those?), this generation of people gets their information from Twitter and many other social media sites.

Is this a bad thing? What is the harm in this kind of reporting? The answer is journalistic integrity. In other words, real journalists have to go through a series of edits and source referencing before something makes the news wire. But today, anybody with a send button qualifies as an instant journalist. No confirmation of sources. No editing mechanism. But worst of all, no filter.

As a result, we have a culture of people who have been raised on sensationalized story telling. The stuff we’re hearing today isn’t news. It’s simply a buffet of random ridiculousness, that does all it can to get clicks and page views. Those networks I mentioned, they’ve gotten on board the circus train as well. Our 24 hour news channels are just as random in their reporting as the social media world.

The problem is, everyone with a send button can’t be right. And the idea that everyone can speak their mind, it’s dangerous because everybody’s mind isn’t right. Where is the integrity? Where is the sense of duty to inform people with accuracy? While I celebrate the innovations of the last 20 years, I can’t help but mourn the death of pure, untainted journalism.

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