It’s a gift from my father’s family. Passed down from father to son, until I was born a daughter. But it knows no gender. And now I have that same ink running through my veins.
Following in the footsteps of my forefathers, I’ve started my writing career in journalism. I’m at the very least committed to it for the next two years, since I’m now enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Some people don’t have confidence in that, but that’s more about the field than me.
They say, “Gwen, isn’t journalism dying?”
“No, it’s more alive than ever,” I tell them.
Maybe it’s like in “Peter Pan,” where if I clap my hands and hope real hard, journalism will be okay, just like Tinker Bell was.
But, I stand by my answer with the explanation that I believe they mean to ask, is print media dying? Are we losing our newspapers? And my answer to that adjusted question is probably.
One thing is obvious; newspapers are in a massive state of flux: all that remains of the glory days when old-fashioned shoe leather and some perseverance are remnants. There have been cuts to staff, hiring freezes and closed bureaus. Virtually empty newsrooms seem to be pulled from a post-apocalyptic world.
But journalism is by no means dying. The act of bringing the news to people is not threatened, only the medium. Most of society prefers quick Internet searches to reading the paper over breakfast, but they are still consuming the news, still requiring journalism.
There are very few print supporters that will talk about the benefits of the Internet and I’m a print girl, through and through.
Call it a betrayal, but despite the Internet’s contribution to the exponentially increased news production cycle and the exponentially decreased care for accuracy, it has benefited journalism in so many ways.
Phone numbers and addresses are easily found now. Journalists spend less time on the mundane parts of their job, like getting lost in the downtown section of town. It is easier to keep in contact with sources through email and messaging systems.
But the biggest benefit is that data, which can be turned into facts and statistics, is easily accessible now. It’s a matter of having the time resources and skill to interpret the data into useable knowledge for the public and then finding a way to finance it. It can even be displayed in a more compelling manner with design software.
Online centers of investigative research are booming. The public still has a need to know what is going on. And journalists will always find a way to provide it.
As Bob Woodward said, stories aren’t necessarily found online. It still requires the human touch. Every story must rely on human sources and journalistic principles like accuracy. Many online stories still do rely on those techniques, especially stories from newspapers that have worked to integrate the online medium.
Print may suffer as a result of technology revolution, but journalism could very well thrive if standards are stressed and adhered to.