Friday, April 11, 2014

Journalism speaks

I see the street vendor wrap some greasy samosas in today’s newspaper. It is a reminder that my calling is a transient, fleeting one. Today’s news is tomorrow’s lining for a bird cage.

How the mighty have fallen! I remember my glory days when young people joined my ranks, knowing that they would be able to make a difference to the world. 


In my time, I have swayed the opinions of whole nations, woken up sleeping consciences, outlawed ruthless ideologies and pilloried cruel governments. I was once the voice of culture and enlightenment. Napoleon said he feared three newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets.

Today, I am a farce, a caricature of my glory days. I have lost my spine. For no fault of mine. Others decide how I will act, when I will speak and when I will shut up.

Today my voice can be hired, sold to the highest bidder. I am a slave, forced to toe the line drawn by my owners and the advertising folk. How much are you willing to pay for a five-column spread on the front page?

And if you want to get a truly significant piece of truth off the front pages, release the news that a starlet wants world peace for Christmas.

No longer are my ranks swelled by upright and honest citizens. Today I am just another profession, with mediocre people calling the shots.

No longer do my professionals consider it their duty to educate and inform and elevate the human mind. No. They’ve settled for entertaining and amusing, like circus performers.

Who cares about facts anymore? Or about accuracy? It is more important to be the first to reveal something than to reveal it right. It breaks me up to think that Breaking News is all that I've been reduced to.

Everything is grist for the Breaking News mill. Whether it is the collapse of the economy or the discovery of a skeleton in someone’s closet or a stupid statement that someone makes to drum up publicity for themselves, journalists treat every subject with the same attitude: Voices screaming, microphones shoved into people’s faces. In the rush to get news, the truth dies a quiet death and no one even misses it. Who is left to mourn its passing but me?

And if by some freak of nature, there should come a day with nothing newsworthy to report, why should that minor fact stand in anyone’s way? My proponents are all wannabe writers; fact and fiction, they are two sides of the same coin.

Everyone’s in a hurry to get the news out. No one has the time for objectivity. Or for good news. Bad news is so much more exciting.

They fell good trees to bring out bad news.

Unafraid in their quest to pass off the counterfeit for the real thing.







7 comments:

  1. Wow! One more of your "hit-the-nail-on-the-head" post. it's an eye-ball grabbing match. 4th estate indeed!

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  2. Wonderful post Cynthia! I love the way you bring out your views. Another strong article!

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  3. Another awesome post from your pen. Irresponsible media is a big curse!

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  4. Today, media is a circus. It is always a delight to read your views.

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  5. Sensational journalism sells better than true facts. Very well penned.

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  6. Wow loved this chain of thoughts, infact facts! Wonderfully put..

    Latest A2Z Challenge Post-Random Thoughts Naba

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  7. There was a time when integrity to the profession and to truth was a sacred duty. Today those words have been done away with.

    I love your expressions. But even more, I love the content of your thoughts. I feel a deep kinship with you.

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