IN journalism, finding the truth is never easy. It requires courage and legwork. It requires a strong will and sweat. It requires a discerning mind and an eye for nonsense.
Journalism is not just a business. It is a public service—delivering stories to inform the citizens and help them mold their decisions. Behind the stories and images are reporters, editors and photojournalists. They could not go on without the community’s support.
American history professor and author Timothy Snyder shared in his little book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century,” the importance of journalists, particularly the ones who write stories.
“We need print journalists so that stories can develop on the page and in our minds,” Snyder wrote.
Snyder further wrote: “The better print journalists allow us to consider the meaning, for ourselves and our country, of what might otherwise seem to be isolated bits of information. But while anyone can repost an article, researching and writing is hard work that requires time and money. Before you deride the ‘mainstream media,’ note that it is no longer the mainstream. It is derision that is mainstream and easy, and actual journalism that is edgy and difficult.”
“So try for yourself to write a proper article, involving work in the real world: traveling, interviewing, maintaining relationships with sources, researching in written records, verifying and revising drafts, all on a tight and unforgiving schedule. If you find you like doing this, keep a blog,” he wrote.
Snyder then urged his readers “to give credit to those who do all of that for a living.”
“Journalists are not perfect, any more than people in other vocations are perfect. But the work of people who adhere to journalistic ethics is of a different quality than the work of those who do not,” he wrote.
The author concluded by stating: “We find it natural that we pay for a plumber or a mechanic, but demand our news for free. If we did not pay for plumbing or auto repair, we would not expect to drink water or drive cars. Why then should we form our political judgment on the basis of zero investment? We get what we pay for.”
The pandemic has badly affected newsrooms. For journalism here to survive and thrive in the coming years, it must have a devoted army of audience, readers.
The journalists’ ultimate reward is not the awards from any award-giving body, but the support of people who believe that the well-informed citizens play a part in preserving a democratic society.