graphic by Ivy Xu
Despite journalism’s increasingly unpopular reputation in some circles, it has played a significant role in informing the public and is crucial for a thriving democracy because it helps people make their own judgments about a wide spectrum of issues.
With the rise of untrustworthy sources, political bias and fake news, people are arguably more wary than ever of journalists and the validity of any news reports to which they are exposed to. However, even in this current climate, honest reporting is more important than ever.
Many may question the relevance of journalistic reporting, especially when information is so easily generated and procured via social media by ordinary users. Nevertheless, by this same token, journalism is necessary as a standard source of unbiased information against which other news can be measured. It is vital in a democratic society, not only to properly inform people, but to bring transparency to every issue and avoid having people hear one-sided, biased arguments.
Recent news of the brutal death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist, author and critic of the Saudi government, has been perceived as eye-opening in regards to the risks journalists take by openly critiquing issues. His article, published on the Washington Post, shared a controversial opinion about the policies of the Crown Prince.
By jeopardizing his public image and safety, Khashoggi was able to reveal the truth by sharing an outlook others may have agreed with, but were too afraid to say. Rather than remaining silent and maintaining the pure image of the Saudi government, he exposed the underlying
Like Khashoggi, journalists go to great lengths in order to present the public the truth. Without journalism, there would be no credible medium for people in different areas to receive common knowledge and the sense of communication would greatly diminish.
While students may be deterred by the amount of twisted news they must sift through to find trustworthy journalism, it is imperative they learn to differentiate between and pinpoint untainted news. Rather than deem it as irrelevant, students should make this additional effort to establish credible sources. This is an essential rite of passage to establishing their independence as young adults.
In spite of the inherent limitations of student news organizations, such as resources and time, students should still take advantage of this tool as a way to become more involved and aware of events that occur in their community and around the world. For young journalists, such restrictions should not discourage them from exercising their free speech and they should continue to handle topics with dignity and class.
No matter what the social or political climate is, journalism will continue to play a vital role in informing society. The current disparities within the reporting community will only serve to strengthen the values of integrity and free speech for which journalism has always stood.