The Future of Journalism for Undergrads Right Now
Politics and Activism

The Future of Journalism for Undergrads Right Now

Journalism isn't dying. It's evolving.

106
pixabay.com

At almost 22 years old, I grew up in a global village that’s made a big world awfully small, and my upbringing has made me deeply interested in humanistic cosmopolitanism as an outlook. It’s behind anything I can say, or report on. When does what I report – “_____ said _____” become challenged when I comment on it? Do we, as journalists, have to separate ourselves from “hot takes” and “talk show hosts”? Do we have to hold talk show hosts and commentators accountable when they falsely claim they are, above all else, journalists?

What is that work in terms of productive members of an outlet? When does your own individual nature corrupt what the larger body does? When has enough second opinions, cross-checking, fact checking, opposing views, and fallacy-testing passed to make it objective work?

As a person, what does that look like? I value that discussion, as an inherently subjective being. As a human more than a writer or reporter, I’m doing the same work with deciding my opinions or cultivating my worldview. I value questioning myself and checking what we believe to be true and trying to stay open, trying to consciously work against the subconscious trying to solidify truths and put people in boxes. Our minds try to organize the world, and I think part of that is the desire to “free up space” by checking things off the list. Not wanting this in an ideological sense, I deliberately try to catch myself and counteract that instinct.

Still, knowing if I can truly accomplish any of this – or even, if I am living up to the potential of my threshold to possibly do this – is impossible. We each have the same human condition. We are defined by circumstances, cultures, societies, location, environments, nature and nurture, age, race, time, social status, economic status, identities, qualifiers, experiences, and even birth order. We are all limited to a worldview that began accumulating long before I was old enough to separate myself from my experiences or ideas. It can be an amazing one that leads to a good life, with the hopes of being a good person, but it can never be all-knowing. It can never be omnipresent or omnipotent. If it was, wouldn’t it be limited by its distance? By its inability to personally relate, even against all the empathy in an all-knowing universe? By its lack of subjectivity itself?

As it must be, given my interests in profession, the process of working towards objectivity relentlessly is interesting to me. The journey of continually working towards a perfect objectivity and seeking absolute fact is a “great white whale”. Of course, I do believe it is unattainable – but also that we are capable of getting closer all the time. That it’s valuable to do so. That it’s necessary to do so. Our thresholds are always expanding, that ceiling can always be pushed and extended and even shattered. I don’t believe we, in our mortal and subjective minds, will ever reach it. I also believe that morality and subjectivity can be infinitely wonderful, just as I believe we should never stop trying to reach beyond the same limitations that enrich us, in the end.

The distance between where we are and what that ‘perfect truth’ is – the active space between – still has infinite value. It’s not just a noble pursuit, it is an essential one. Acknowledging that we aren’t there yet is what takes us closer, and farther. We must be aware that in an absolute sense, we might know nothing – and yet can build entire worlds, civilizations, lives, and meaningful constructs of the knowns based on evidence in spite of a void of larger evidence.

Knowing truth is imprecise, but the closest things we have to truth comprise the framework to bringing order to a chaotic world, I can’t help but subscribe to something like soft universalism. I can’t help but believe that there are conclusions that most will come to, in some places more or differently than others. In the ambition of being as close to objectivity as possible, the most powerful, ethical, and effective thing you can do is put forward the facts and let people decide what they believe.

It is an inevitability that whatever you say they will project their own worldview upon. If there are moral imperatives, and call to actions, based upon that information – you must assume the audience will get there on their own. If you believe in people, you must never underestimate their intelligence, cruelty, or goodness to be less than the maximum that you have seen of any of those things.

Most people are capable of reasoning skills, are wired to a foundational set of ethics and values – and I think we share more in our culture than we want to admit in an age of proud division – as part of that universalism. On the most basic and human level, I do believe most will come to the conclusions I come to. (I also recognize that my conclusions are not the most important part of the job.)

It is worth noting that withholding your personal ideas when possible helps avoid putting off those with preexisting oppositional views from looking at my reporting and discrediting the work because of their confirmation-bias belief in my disagreement.

Relying on showing, not telling, becomes a strength – at least, in an educated electorate. Ideally, there is room to give the audience some credit – and the respect of allowing them to do with it what they will, to an ethical extent. Whether or not we have that luxury when under fire for the institution of the media, and images themselves are appropriated for malicious uses from the less well-intended in every corner of the internet, has itself has yet to be determined. Contextualization, therefore, is the critical and ideal commentary.

Whatever our conclusions, the questions need analyzing. Moving forward we will face challenges we may never have examined before: what does it mean to look like I do when I have a camera on me? What is the societal function of this work? Does what I’m saying matter? Am I making a difference? Am I informing the public? Am I promoting an educated electorate? What is ‘fair and balanced’? What is good storytelling? What is journalism in an era where emergencies have the populace turning to Twitter’s ‘moments’ instead of turning on CNN? What is documentary when Netflix puts the story in your hand and the stakes of the hook is on the line of a 6-second-Vine punchline generation? What is television when TV doesn’t belong to a set in a living room, but streams whenever, wherever, and on whatever device people want – on demand, cut into digestible bites, packaged for clickbait, selected on what appeals in an instant first impression on digital native eyes, and only for as long as one of 100 daily phone-checks breaks lasts – or until a new text message takes them away from a feed that will be refreshed and never full of the same content again? It’s one-shot information pitches.

Much like the documentary allows its audience the comfortable illusion to feel as though they are fairly informed on an entire subject in just an hour’s time (or far less, in 2018), digital natives walk through the world with seemingly unlimited knowledge in their pocket and have a sense that they themselves possess the information they simply have access too.

Is our challenge to then intrigue the desire to spend compact, precise seconds easily spent on literally any other video or headline in a sea of endless content, on ours?

To make people care about the faraway? In a way, we have the greatest gift of any journalist of any time: to create the illusion of the immediacy and connection to events in a distant space is not difficult for digital natives, the children of the global village.

I don’t think our biggest struggle will be inspiring the interest for connection and substance, but fulfilling it in the language of a new world. I think, largely, it’s intergenerational communication. News isn’t dead. I’ve often been advised press is a dying art. I don’t’ think it is – I think it is a form in transition. If it’s lost right now, it’s only as lost as our society is. It’s an enduring institution with a societal function, it will last – but it must undergo the same changes our society is, and its readership is, and it must be claimed by the next generation. Just as our world, if it is ever to be improved, must be inherited.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

10 Etsy Father's Day Gifts Under $40 To Support Your Dad And Small Businesses

Stores may still be closed, but the internet is still wide open. So, while you're already shopping online check out Etsy for your Father's Day needs and support small creators.

As June approaches, Father's Day is coming up quickly with it. While they may not ask for much, it's always a nice gesture to give your dad something special to share your appreciation. Although, at the same time, it might be difficult to find the perfect gift either for their humor or that will be practical.

On a normal occasion, it's simple to find a gift for your father figures in stores, but for the times we're currently in our access has become very limited. Small and independent businesses need help now more than ever, so what better time than now to support them? If you're still stuck on what to give for Father's Day, look to this list for some inspiration that won't hurt your wallet too much.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Helpful, Effective Mental Health Resources Specifically For The Black Community

These organizations are qualified, caring, and acknowledging the mental trauma individuals are experiencing.

On May 25, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. In the last week, protests have sprung up across the nation, demanding justice for Floyd and accountability for police brutality. Social media has also seen widespread conversation regarding Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and racism in the United States. Today is #BlackoutTuesday, where many are sharing a single black square to represent unity and support for Black voices.

In light of the heavy climate that our country is facing, it is a safe assumption that many individuals' mental health may be suffering. We wanted to highlight mental health resources and organizations that are Black-owned and prepared to assist in whatever you're going through.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

15 Black-Owned Haircare Brands That Cater As Much To Inclusivity As They Do To Your Locks

Championing Black entrepreneurs who make some of our hair favorites.

The haircare industry is vast. With the rise of social media came hundreds of thousands of empowered, niche brands. Single entrepreneurs came out of the woodwork with hair brands that now, years later, have dedicated cult followings.

Of those multitudes of brands, few cater to all hair types, most made without regard for curly or coily hair. These brands, however, are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

4 Women Of Color Share How Racism Affects Their Dating Lives, And Everyone Needs To Listen

"My race is typically a factor in almost everything I do, and with dating, it's no different."

Racism affects the daily lives of people of color in the United States, and other parts of the world, in some capacity every day. When it comes to dating and relationships, this is unfortunately no different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

13 Movies And Shows On Netflix Directed By Black Men And Women You Need To Watch Now

Take the time right now to watch these fantastic films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.

Netflix

Netflix is notorious for getting us insanely addicted to watching TV and films. From documentaries, true crime, reality, and fiction, we get very sucked in.

Right now the American people are fighting for the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, so instead of watching "The Office" for the 30th time, take the time to watch these 13 films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.

Keep Reading... Show less

I love working out, it makes me feel great. It helps my mood, sleep schedule and I just feel overall healthier. Recently I wanted to focus more on my glutes than I previously had been. At the gym, I would just go to the squat bar to do my thing and call it a day. But since we have been home in quarantine I feel like squats just aren't doing it for me but even if I love doing them. Doing squats I always have felt does more for banging my thighs than it ever did for my butt. It made them so big, which I didn't mind except I felt it made my butt look pretty much the same. Straying from squats, and the fact that gyms will probably remain closed for a while, sent me on a fitness journey to see what other exercises I could do at home with no or very little equipment needed. Hopefully, these exercises will help keep your booty banging.

1. Diamond Leg Lifts

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

10 Podcasts On Race Everyone Should Listen To In Order To Be A Better Ally

Listen and learn, because knowledge is power.

Podcasts are such an integral part of some of our everyday lives that it can be hard to recall a time at which they didn't exist. Podcasts exist on about every single topic, from dating to celebrity gossip and Harry Potter.

Now more than ever, it's likely you're reeling from the news, and (hopefully) wanting to do something about it in order to educate yourself. Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information in a conversational, personal way from some of today's top educators, scholars, and theorists.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Stop Pitying Me Because I'm Single, I'm Very Happy With My Relationship With Myself

I don't need your opinions on why I'm single and you're not. We are two different people.

I'm so happy for my friends when they get into relationships, but that doesn't mean they get to have control over my love life, and that is what bothers me. For the record, I've been in four relationships, one lasting for three years, so I do understand relationships.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments