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How To Be a Journalist in Times Like These

By Piper Blake
Web Content Manager

With the Black Lives Matter movement and the impending election, emotions are running high and the mass media is using this to their advantage.

People can be led like sheep when they are emotionally vulnerable, and the media is the shepherd herding them up.

Getting on social media now is like deep-diving into an opinion forum that you never asked to be apart of that includes the whole world. Personally, I use twitter and Instagram as escapes from my worries and look forward to the funny content that is readily available there. However, right now my twitter feed is full of angry riot videos and Black Lives Matter propaganda (which is not a bad thing).

The bad part of all this is the contradictions in information being talked about because the media has not given the full and accurate story from the beginning about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The reason we have so many people flocking to social media, is to voice their anger about situations that have been posted by the news or other media outlets, even though, not all of the news that is being reacted to is accurate.

How do you stay accurate as a reporter or a media outlet when the companies that own your network have political affiliations? How do you stay accurate and unbiased when you aren’t always sure what is true and false?

As an aspiring journalist, these are the questions that scare me the most. I do not want to be controlled by a company that forces me to report what makes their side of the story look good. I want to be accurate and truthful in everything I write. That is the dilemma.

In today’s media landscape, it’s like you have to pick a political party and that determines what you can and can’t write. Journalists are supposed to vow to write the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but the truth is skewed from one side or the other.

When you have two sides to everything, one side’s hero could be the other side’s enemy. This is what is happening right now. The media has caused this division by manipulating their information to best fit their own views. That is not journalism, that is fraud.

I tend to be silent in times of controversy because of this misinformation that floats around. I could completely agree and believe something I read one day, but by the next day, I read or hear something that makes me switch views completely. I never know what side to choose and which side is the accurate one.

You get burned either way when you choose a side, and I guess that’s why I chose to be a journalist, because to me, there are no sides. Like the old saying, each side has a story to tell and I choose to hear both and agree with aspects of both.

Does this make me indecisive or unable to commit to my beliefs? No, I don’t believe so. As a journalist, you have to be able to rationalize and see past the opinions and fake news and find the closest thing you can to the truth.

I know right now it’s frowned upon when someone keeps there opinion off social media because many feel that you are privileged and aren’t willing to fight for what’s right, but some people don’t voice their opinion till they understand everything and can accurately make their voice heard.

Don’t shame people for not wanting to dive into the bandwagon, give them time to sort out their own feelings.

In times like these, people jump to the first conclusion that they can find and stick to it till the end and, sadly, even news outlets and journalists have done this too when the world needs them to stay unbiased and report the facts.

The media has become so political that you will never truly know when the full story or accurate information is given. I hope, with our generation making changes to society and fighting for equality that should have happened a long time ago, that the new age journalists will be able to understand and do our job by making media apolitical and stick only to hard facts so we don’t cause more division In our society.

Featured image by Piper Blake.

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