EDITORIAL: Journalists are not the enemy


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Journalists are not the enemy of the American people. Journalists are not out to ruin lives and intrude upon tragedy. We are here to inform and serve the people. We do not answer to the government; we are not concerned with what they do and do not like. It is not our job to care about their image, it is our job to care about the facts and making sure they are clear. 

Several members of The Parthenon staff attended a journalism convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and it was encouraging. It was a convention full of people who share a love of one thing: journalism. One session at the conference consisted of student journalists telling stories of when they had to face adversity and when people tried to stop them from working and doing their jobs the right way. There was a story of a mayor telling news organizations not to hire a specific editor because they published an article that put that politician in a bad light.

Another story was about a girl who was trying to get the other side of the story in a moment of police brutality, and officers tried to ensure she never got the victim’s side. Situations in which students tried to get the Democratic and Republican side to a story and were turned away were also shared. These students were called “left-leaning,” “unfair,” “biased,” and a “lib-tard.” These are all instances where student journalists were only trying to do their jobs and report. 

Journalism is a challenging career, as most important things are. The profession takes patience, passion, courage and fierce curiosity.

“Seek truth and report it.” This is the  first tenant in the  Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. Truth is important. Facts are important. While it’s one thing to disagree on matters of opinion, there is a startling emergence of disagreeing with facts. The truth is the truth; facts are the facts.

Journalists work for the public interest, and the public good. The founding fathers were adamant about the First Amendment for the fact that they knew how important it was in a democracy to have an open environment  holding its own government accountable.

With shouts of fake news and alternative facts, journalists are being treated with an increasing hostility, not only from the government but also from the people they are serving.  While there is certainly bias in the news, particularly in the cable news realm, for the most part, professional journalists are earnestly and fiercely working to seek the truth, and to report it. The work is hard, but the it is vital to a healthy democracy. 

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