We live in a nation where our news media would rather focus on a football player not respecting the national anthem in the “correct” way than talk about Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist, being released early. The same country where we do not find out about objections to a pipeline in North Dakota until protesters are attacked by.
The American public no longer values real journalism the way it should. Journalism is an essential tool for a functional society and we are taking it for granted. Today, any one with internet access has an unlimited amount of sources that provide them with news; all of this information is at their fingertips. Yet most people remain uninformed. We do not want to waste our time reading long articles; we would rather look at cute pictures of puppies. We do not further educate ourselves on a news story by reading multiple articles on the same topic from different sources. Instead, we read one article and share it on Facebook for others to briefly look at.
Our ignorance is both the fault of the media as well as our own. We care about issues like the protests in North Dakota because we care about the Native Americans and the potential danger the pipeline can do to their land. However, large news organizations have agendas and choose to focus on certain issues over other ones. That is until the news gets bloody.
A common phrase used to describe the media in America is “if it bleeds, it leads.” We, as the audience, tune into the news more when tragedy occurs. We want to see what happened, we want to know details, and we are willing to focus our attention to understand what has happened. An increase in public interest means an increase in ratings for the press. The media needs money in order to give us the news but the only way they are making money is by providing stories that we find interesting. We are perpetuating a cycle with the media in which it only shares the news that is dramatic and thus engaging.
Journalism is supposed to be objective, not controlled by any outside sources (big companies, government, etc.), and it should cover all news that the public needs to be aware of. Not what we want, but what we need. That journalism still exists in this world but it is slowly dying. People read local papers less than those from large news organizations, so local circulation goes down. People no longer care about newspapers in print so many print-centered operations have gone out of business or altered their image comptely. People no longer buy subscriptions to newspapers because the information is all online so journalists start to lose their jobs.
However, it is not too late. People are recognizing the damage fluff articles and biased news organizations are doing and want to stop it. Journalism can once again make the public well informed about the truth. We can utilize the resources we have like supporting news in print and staying connected to a variety of news outlets. We can find the time to sit and read the current events relating to our nation as well as as well as the world as a whole. We do not have to let our country lose the power of the press.
This is our country and it is letting us down. But we can change that. Keep freedom of the press alive and do not forget how important real journalism is to our lives.