01 May How Journalism, Recently Thought To Be A Dead Profession, Suddenly Became An Important Job Again
It’s funny how things come around again. For a long time over the past number of years many of us in professional communities became highly dismissive of journalism irrespective of whether it’s perspective was on the right or on the left. What we were really disappointed and angry about was the fact that journalism no longer did its job. Journalists whether from a conservative or liberal standpoint seemed to only be concerned with getting ears and eyeballs on the content they were producing, as opposed to focusing on the quality of the content itself. Thus we had a 24-hour news cycle, an unending barrage of stories about whatever and the nuclear race for each journalistic platform to see if they could scream more loudly than the others. Meanwhile, the real reporting, the hard work of journalism, the deep investigative, time consuming, thoughtful reporting that used to be the sine qua non of journalism seemed to have vanished forever. Frankly, we had all reached a point where nobody cared. It was just dead and gone.
Then a funny thing happened. We entered a political era where the truth suddenly became indeterminate. Let me say that again: Truth suddenly became indeterminate Propaganda outlets, purporting themselves to be journalists, began producing massive amounts of content, supposedly containing facts which in fact were not facts at all, but were simply the fabrications, opinions and editorials of those running these platforms. In time, we became accustomed to this non-fact-based journalism and it seemed to be the next step in the long devolution of the field and of the profession.
Then the pandemic hit and suddenly actual facts became important again. People really wanted to know exactly what was going on, what the numbers were, what the circumstances were, what the treatments might be, how many had died, who had done what, what had happened to the pre-generative science, etc., etc. And while certain platforms continued to produce content based on theory, fabrication, opinion, and abdication of journalistic principles, a lot of journalistic content began to coalesce around actual facts, the real truth of what was happening. And in that reporting we began to notice stories of tremendous courage among the journalists to actually extract and examine and present the facts of this terrible pandemic. So it was not just “good job for getting in there and actually finding out what happened.” It was really more about an act of courage and risk to do the fundamental, deep diligence to actually uncover, extract, review and produce the truth in journalism.
Who knows. Maybe the profession is not dead yet.