Remember bravery, impact of solid journalism

April 4, 2016

Scribe Staff
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Journalists, such as those at The Scribe, spend almost all of their professional time writing about and photographing people other than themselves.

But with the field of journalism under almost-daily attack nationwide, it is good for both us and readers to recall the positives that come from solid journalism, as well as what we lose when it isn’t done right and citizens undermine and undervalue
its impact.

Journalists are some awfully brave human beings.

There’s the obvious danger that journalists can be in, when they cover events in war-torn areas of the world or find themselves in the middle of a protest that turns violent.

But the less obvious, yet no less potent danger that journalists put themselves through is their writing and photography.

Every time a writer puts pen to paper or a photographer prints a photo, they open themselves and their work to examination and ridicule. Often, it’s their name and a photo attached – it’s impossible to run and hide from that.

Both writing and photography can be personal, and journalists make both public. Journalists risk everything, including their reputation. They don’t post anonymously like many detractors of journalists, hiding behind a screen, and have to be ready for whatever ridicule or punches come their way.

Journalism, in at least one way, is very similar to teaching and serving as a member of the police force. When it’s done well, no one notices. But when it’s done wrong, all hell breaks loose.

Here’s the problem: these brave people in journalism are going away. And when we lose solid journalists and journalism, our society suffers.

Who is there to keep the powerful in check, no matter their position? Without journalists, the message is controlled entirely by those in power, be it in politics, the private sector, or even in individual households.

They can get away with whatever they want, and no one will say anything, leaving those out of power without a voice.

The built-in watchdog of democracy vanishes.