FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

An aspiring journalist’s take on why journalism is important to the nation.

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Abby Landwehr

Prowl News Editor Lucyjane Crimm looks through her steno book. Crimm has written notes for journalism stories and interviews in her steno.

I’ve heard one too many times that my passion for journalism is fueling a new generation of fake press, but in actuality, it’s the opposite.

While the current state of the press is less than desirable in some realms, this hasn’t always been the case. And perhaps more importantly, the new generation of journalists is going to bring back the original purpose of journalism.

“… [journalists] are just as essential as ever and perhaps more so, given how hard it is to tell good information from bad.,” journalist Melanie Sill said in a speech addressed to college journalists at the 2015 National College Journalism Convention. “We provide a valuable role in organizing, assessing, verifying, following up, amplifying and so forth … we’re the people whose job it is to make sure people get reliable, independent information. That’s our purpose.”

Journalism is a thing. It’s a thing worth doing. It’s a service that’s needed in our society and in our democracy.”

— Melanie Sill

Look no further than the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which outlines four areas of focus for responsible reporting:

Seek truth and report it.

Act independently.

Be accountable and transparent.

Minimize harm.

The best journalists rely on these points to better the nation by providing information the people have the right to know.  A good journalist also has memorized the First Amendment, with special attention paid to the freedoms of speech and of the press. 

The view of the press has changed from being a voice for the people to being a source of skepticism; readers find the fear of “fake news” an all-too-real threat. News outlets tend to cause more turmoil and definitely do not minimize harm. 

Journalism is a thing,” Sill said in the aforementioned speech. “It’s a thing worth doing. It’s a service that’s needed in our society and in our democracy.

Journalism is my way of affecting change and bringing attention to the problems that must be addressed; it’s my way of bringing a voice to the voiceless, as stated by the late author Emma Wheeler Wilcox. Hence the press is the voice of the people.

Student journalists don’t have a broad enough platform and are greatly undervalued. Whether a PHS football player scores the winning touchdown at a game, a student’s dog is running for president or the school rallies together in a time of hardship, the student journalists are going to be there to cover the story.

Instead of discouraging passionate journalists from pursuing journalism later in life, we should further the education and opportunities for future journalists. We need to bring back the press that served as a voice for the members of the communities and propelled changes in our nation.

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