What kind of journalist will I be? This is a question I have asked myself since deciding journalism is what I wanted to do with my life, and every time I ask myself I have the same answer. I want to be a fair, and honest journalist. I want to tell all the facts, even if I don’t like them. I want to tell everyones story, no matter how upsetting it is. I don’t want to pollute my writing with opinions, and unproven facts. I want to be trustworthy and fair. I want to be the type of journalist that will correct my mistakes even if they weren’t caught.
GOYAKOD- Get Off Your Ass And Knock On doors. This is important in journalism because the best way to get information is to get up and go get it yourself. The best way to get someone to feel comfortable talking to you is to talk them in person. Instead of using Email or a phone call, you need to talk to them in person to get the best information, a persons more likely to tell the truth and give more information if you’re talking to them in person. In journalism your reputation is one of the most important things you can have. If people know you as the journalist that speaks to people in person and seems to really care, you’ll get farther then you would if you were just a journalist that made a lot of phone calls and sent emails. Even though GOYAKOD has a lot of positives and does a lot of good, you’ll also have to get used to rejection. Not everyone is comfortable talking to the media, and that’s just something that comes with the job. The more you get rejected, the thicker your skin will be, but also the better you’ll be at asking people for an interview.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right or the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”
Journalists are the voice of the people. This means they should not be censored, and they should be able to share with the public if the government has lied to them, or is doing something wrong. The First Amendment is what makes that possible. Without the First Amendment journalists wouldn’t be able to tell the citizens what was really happening with the government or they would be arrested. For example, if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were to try to print a story on the Watergate scandal and the first Amendment wasn’t in place, they would’ve probably been stopped and put in jail. But since it was, they were able to print the story and out a huge scandal. Without the First Amendment, Journalists would simply be another voice for the Government.
When it comes to journalism verifying the facts of your story is one of the most important things you should do. When it is up to you to tell people what is going on in the world you need to be sure what you’re saying is true. Without verifying a story you could cause many problems for yourself, the news outlet you work for, and the people involved in the story.
One of the biggest examples of why you should always verify your stories is the case of ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘A Rape on Campus.’ In this case the writer didn’t verify any of the “facts” she was given and ended up printing a fake story. By doing this she damaged the name of the college, the fraternity that was accused of housing the rapists, and the people in the victims friend group. While something did happen to the victim of the story, that is mostly where the facts end. If the writer responsible for this article had even just taken a moment to look at the story given to her she could have easily found out it was false.But since she did not do this, she caused a lot of trouble for herself and others.
If you are a true journalist your goal should always be to give people facts that they can trust, but if you let a perfect story slip by without making sure it is true, and then learn its almost completely false, you’ve lost your credibility. From that point on, if people see your name under an article they most likely wont think its true because of your previous mistake, and when you’re job is to tell people facts, you need to be trustworthy.
What is news? News can be many different things depending on who you were to ask. If you were to try to define news simply you could say it is factual and important information. But then you have to try to decide what is and isn’t important. If one employ where to steal a small amount of money from their job, it usually wouldn’t make the news. However, if that person worked at a bank, it most likely would make the news. While an employee at a gas station stealing money is important to the people at that gas station, it doesn’t affect as many people as the bank employee stealing does, and that is what makes it newsworthy.
While the amount of people affected can contribute to news, that’s not the only way for something to be considered news. If a man bites a police dog, that doesn’t affect many people at all, but it can still be considered news simply because of how unusual it is. There are many different ways something can be considered news, and it all really boils down to the reader to decide what they think is news and read the stories presented to them. A journalist could write thousands of stories they find newsworthy, but in the long run that won’t matter if none of the readers find it newsworthy enough to look at. News can be defined in many different ways, so it is up to everyone to decide what they think the real news is and up to journalists to hopefully write the correct stories and tell the people what they want, and need to know.
Bearing witness is a very important part of journalism, but it’s not a thing for only journalists. There have been many cases where big news stories were first recorded and published by civilians who just so happened to have their phone camera ready, and decided to bear witness instead of turning away. With most cases of police shooting civilians for no particular reason, the event was recorded and shared by random people that saw something seemed off and decided to record and share what had happened. Bearing witness is not an easy thing to do, and can be traumatic and scary. But it is a very important thing for us to live safely while knowing what is actually going on in our world.
In many cases, bearing witness as a journalist can save lives, and get the people in the wrong put in jail.This is the case with Ron Haviv and his work documenting war crimes and the people committing them. Instead of being afraid of the threats to his life, he shoots the photos he’s told not to and get the true criminals arrested. He also tries to save people from being wrongfully killed if he believes he can stop it. But stopping it is not always an option, and documenting it is the best thing you can do for the people wrongfully killed, and other people in danger. I believe that bearing witness is a very important thing to do as not just a journalist, but as a person with the ability to document crime at their fingertips. Simply taking out your phone and hitting record could change so much and save so many.
Why do I write? From the time I learned how to write, I’ve had a passion for it. I have journals upon journals full of different things I’ve written from all stages of my life. I used writing as an outlet, it helped me through bad relationships, loss of loved ones, and even my own struggle with mental health. Writing has alway been a big thing for me, no matter what, I would always find time to write.
But why journalism? If my passion was just for writing why be a journalist? Its a simple answer. Im also very passionate about politics, and I want to be able to get the truth out to people. While I have my own political views, I believe that everyone deserves to be told the truth, even if it directly conflicts my own belief. I have seen many times that not so truthful things where published and I want to be able to spread the truth so citizens know what is actually happening with their government. I want to be able to fight for all sides with facts, even if the facts hurt my side.