The following definition is directly from the Dashboard of my MacBook Pro which I use to write just about every column:
journalism |ˈjərnlˌizəm| noun
the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television.
• the product of such activity: an art critic whose essays and journalism are never dull.
It’s dead. Yes, DEAD. It doesn’t exist any longer. I try like hell to make sure that every column I write, everything I report on falls into the highest quality and integrity of the word, but for the most part, journalism as we once knew it is DOA.
It’s sad because I still believe it could exist. In order to make that happen, news organizations would have to fact check what they print, broadcast, tweet, blog, you name it. Problem is, everyone is a journalist these days. You have a blog, you are a journalist. You use your webcam on your computer to post something to YouTube, you’re a journalist. Own a smart phone, have Twitter as an app, you are a journalist. Did you go to school to be one? Probably not. Did you work at a television station, newspaper, magazine, radio station to train to do research to get the facts right and report them to the world, doubtful. Well folks, I did. So when I rant about the death of journalism, I speak from a higher authority. Granted Hebrew National still trumps me. (Glad I can keep a sense of humor when I am steaming mad)
Cable news stations have agendas. Talk show hosts that claim you are in the “no spin zone” are actually making you spin so much you should be on the Tea Cup ride at Disney World. The left has their mouth pieces, the right has it too. The problem is the public will take whatever they hear, see or read and take it as fact. There is no due diligence by the public anymore. When is the last time you read something, then went and read another piece on the same subject so you could garner a better understanding? Probably never. It’s not your fault. Not many people do it anymore.
Then you have reporters that will not ask questions because they don’t have the guts to ask it. Nick Saban said in 2003, ”If you don’t win your conference championship you have no business playing for the National Championship.” Did anyone in 2011 or early 2012 ask him about that quote before he played for a national championship? Nope. I asked it on my radio show, but would Nick come on the show. NO. Monday night during the GOP Debate in Florida, the candidates were asked questions; did they answer the questions they were asked, NO. Did the moderator hold their feet to the fire? NO. The candidates just use the debates as forums for their talking points. Let me monitor a debate and I promise you if a candidate does not answer a direct question. I will stop the debate, ask it again and again, until they answer it or drop out of the race. We don’t let our children behave like this, why do we accept it from our political leaders and/or our reporters?
Which brings me to the reason why I wrote this piece. Devon Edwards. Heard of him? Before Saturday night I doubt you did. Edwards was the managing editor of Onwardstate.com (an online new organization associated with Penn State) and he reported that Joe Paterno died Saturday night. He didn’t. He died Sunday morning.
Edwards resigned amid pressure because of his premature reporting. CBS News, one of the most trusted names in news, reported Paterno’s death Saturday night as well. Did anyone at CBS resign or get fired? I didn’t hear that. Did you? They are the pros, Edwards, just a college student.
Journalism is dead my friends. I hope that with the emerging media we now have, some organization will bring it back to the balanced center, the ideal of telling a story as a public service with all sides represented. I promise you this, I will be a journalist that will strive to do just that every time I sit on a keyboard or hit the on-air light for my radio show.
If we don’t have a system of checks and balances forged and protected by journalists of the highest morals, ethics and integrity, forget Saving SILVERMAN, save us all!
This column was originally written and published on BeyondUSports.com by Bruce Silverman