Dear Society, Please Stop Bashing Journalists For EVERYTHING

Dear Society, Please Stop Bashing Journalists For EVERYTHING

No, it's actually not all "fake news."

"That's fake news."

"These journalists are so biased, I hate how far left the media is."

"I don't trust mainstream media, I get all of my news from social media."

I have heard these snip-its of conversation countless times. As I further my education as a future journalist, these comments have started to have an impact on me more and more.

I have watched Trump bash the media endlessly in tweets and have read the replies of people in agreement. My first thought was, "I'm going into the most hated career in the U.S. right now..."

But that thought was followed by a more powerful one and here it is: I want to change people's opinion on the media.

Today, people believe that large media enterprises are out to make money first and provide quality reporting second. In some cases, this is true, but it is not in most cases. Trump continually refers to The New York Times as "failing" and "fake news." But is it really?

I am currently taking a journalism class in which we have to stay very aware of breaking news and current events, locally as well as nationally. News has always been a passion of mine, but I never truly realized how much more is out there when you actually go to the websites of papers like The New York Times or The Washington Post. The little articles we see on social media? Those are small pieces of a large entity.

The biggest place journalists get a bad reputation is mainstream media. I recently saw a post complaining that news entities are still reporting on the tension of Confederate statues while there is a very severe natural disaster unfolding in Texas and the individual was complaining how awful that was. Let me enlighten you on what future journalists are being taught so maybe you will understand why news is reported the way it is.

A novel that I had to read last year for a journalism class was Kovach and Rosentiel's "The Elements of Journalism." They stated that "Journalism's first obligation is to the truth." Journalists report the truth regardless of what people like hearing. There are also three metaphors they wrote about in their book that the press identifies themselves with that I think are extremely important for the public to understand:

1. The press is a watchdog, meaning they are supposed to bark at the big guys in power (the government) when things aren't right. We are there to protect the interest of the little guy, or citizens.

2. The press is a marketplace, meaning they are to report on a wide variety of topics and ideas, regardless of popularity or majority agreement.

3. And finally, the press is a mirror, meaning they REFLECT what is happening in society for all to see.

Personally, I think that last point is the most important. People get angry over things happening in the world and get mad at media for the stories when they are simply doing their job of reporting. Is the article you hate really "fake news" or is it simply something you disagree with? Just because you are in disagreement does not change the facts. Yes, they are reporting on events other than Harvey. Why? Because people still need to stay informed about what is going on in the world around them.

Of course, there are opinion columns and talk shows and places where journalists do share their own biases and thoughts. That is the beauty of our First Amendment right. But not every news entity shares their opinion and every journalist is trained to report straight facts without a one-sided feel to the article.

Let me leave you with this. If we did not have the media, how would we know things? How would we know about the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and which charities are best to donate to? How would we know which presidential candidate we would like to vote for? How would we know about anything going on in the world around us?

The answer is simple: We wouldn't have a clue. Journalists and the press are necessary to our society to string along the flow of news and without media, our world would be completely different.

Cover Image Credit: Wikmedia

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I'm A Skeptic Who Believes That Everything Happens For A Reason

A person like me isn't supposed to believe in fate, but I do with my entire heart.

I am quite the skeptic when it comes to things that cannot be scientifically proven. I'm not the most religious person out there, I don't believe in astrology (although, the character traits for Pisces are pretty spot-on for me), I don't think that fortune tellers and psychics are legitimately gifted nor do I believe in the supernatural. So, you would think that a person like me wouldn't believe in the concept of fate. However, there is one thing that I believe with my entire heart. I believe that everything that happens to us — no matter if it's positive or negative, life-changing or life-threatening, mirthful or miserable — happens for a reason.

It may just be the eternal optimist in me, but I think that there is always a bright side to a situation. When I was in first grade, I begged my teacher to let me sit next to a girl who had no idea who I was. I had seen her around before and thought that she would be a cool person to get to know. And now, 12 years later, that girl has been and is still my best friend. A few summers ago, I had to give up an engineering summer program that I had gotten into because I had a journalism workshop the same week, but was offered to attend during a different week. I met some amazing people that I wouldn't have met if I skipped my journalism workshop, and I still consider it to be one of the best weeks of my life. A few months ago, my friend group's plans to watch the eclipse together crumbled because we didn't have anyone to drive us. So I asked a friend of mine who I wasn't extremely close to if I could join him, and I ended up forming very close friendships with everyone in his group that have ultimately defined my senior year.

These are only a few instances of how small moments turned into experiences that have changed my life for the better. There might not be some sort of "plan" that each of us is destined to follow, but I truly believe that there is a reason why we run into obstacles or achieve our goals. It's hard to remember this when we are faced with these sorts of instances, but when we look back on events, we realize that it really was meant to happen this way.

I'm excited to see what's in store.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Nine Köpfer

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Vehicle Filing

Tips for Easy Car Registration

A trip to the DMV. Not something that you typically look forward to, even though you only have to go once a year. Even then, the long and slow-moving lines, plus the fact that you’re only there to spend your hard-earned money, can make for a pretty miserable experience. Luckily, there are ways to speed up and simplify your experience the next time you need to renew your vehicle registration.

Know When to Go

As absurd as it may seem given the common sense involved, many people actually add to their misery at the DMV by going at the wrong times. For example, though going to a mechanic first thing in the morning might put you first in line, going to the DMV first thing in the morning will only ensure you have to wait a long time. For everyone who’s retired or has the day off, going first thing seems like the right thing to do, but since everyone else has the same idea, it ends up being a bad idea.

Additionally, trying to go to the DMV after kids start getting out of school will result in a long wait time as well, since parents will stop by the DMV after picking their kids up from school. Also, going at the beginning or end of the month will result in longer wait times, as you have to wait with either the eager beavers or the procrastinators. Finally, going on a Monday or Friday is a bad idea, for the same reasons as going at the beginning or end of the month.

So, if you can, try to go to the DMV around the middle of the month, in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday), in the middle of the day (around 10-2). It may seem strange, but when you get in and out in just a few minutes, you’ll be the one laughing.

Embrace Technology

For all the different aspects of our lives that technology has improved and made more simple, government functions seem to still be lagging behind. Fortunately, at least in the case of the DMV, that is changing. You can use services like eTags to pay your registration fees online. Additionally, some companies are working to centralize the process for DMVs all across the country, ensuring your next registration renewal is just a few clicks away. Now, you can make sure this bill gets paid as quickly and easily as all the rest.

Take Your Time

Whatever method you use to speed up your registration renewal, two things are important to have in abundance: preparation and patience. For preparation, make absolutely sure you have all the documents you’ll need to renew your registration in advance, so you won’t have to make a second trip to the DMV or go back to the website later. Then, even if you are totally prepared, still remain patient, as many of the processes are slow, even when completed online. Remind yourself that this only has to be done once a year, and it will be completed, even if it’s not quite as fast as you’d like it to be.

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