Friday, April 17, 2009

Definition of a Journalist

Good old newspapers, they used to be the staple source of news. Granted, in some homes their place has not changed. Our table still bears the morning paper each day. In others, the paper has become extinct, replaced by news gathered from the Internet.

Wherever the news source, there are a few standards that people look for when reading articles. I may be wrong in this, but I think most people want the facts. They want the truth, reality.

When I read an article, that's what I look for. I want it to tell me the hard facts, the evidence, the event. When I read an article, I don't want to read the journalist's opinion. The opinion of the writer belongs in the opinion column, not in the news article, or the feature.

I have been very disappointed over the years when I come across the opinion-bearing news piece. Usually it's very subtle, but it's there. There's a sentence, a statement, that doesn't bear fact. It bears an opinion, an impression, a presumption. It's one thing to tell what the general public's opinion is, or the source that one is quoting. It's another to insert the opinion of the writer.

It would seem as though this practice is becoming more and more accepted. If you read a story on politics, you usually get an opinion. If you read an article on same-sex marriage, you usually get an opinion. It may take on subtle forms, a trace of the writer's stance, but it is still there.

If I detect the author's opinion in a news piece, I'm automatically turned-off, and usually stop reading. If I'm looking for news, there is no way I'm going to read through an article bearing the writer's opinion and take it as fact.

Again, if I want your opinion, I'll read your opinion column. Otherwise, just give me the facts and keep your opinion to yourself. If only journalists would do their job...

* * * * *

On a more personal note (since most of these posts don't seem to get too personal), this week has been crazy.

I think the one thing I've walked away with is a greater understanding of the fact that what we do with our lives impacts those around us. The big local stories of the week, here and here, show just how much one person's actions can touch others, even those they don't personally know.

Everyone in quiet little Clinton has in some way been affected by two men's choices. But even more so, two families are feeling the aftermath of their destructive decisions.

I hope that I, along with everyone else, comes away with the knowledge that our decisions will have some affect on the people around us. Thus, as selfish as we want to be in life, we shouldn't make a decision without considering those who will be impacted by it.

Remember those who love you, know you, and live in your town, as you choose how to live your life.

1 comment:

Hanna said...

very VERY well written, my dear cuz.
h

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