Tag Archives: journalists

The Real Cost of News

Over a year ago, I blogged about my fear of the unknown future coupled with the sometimes overwhelming, scary nature of journalism. Tonight’s event at the Newseum, (which also happened to be my first “official journalism event in D.C.”) brought that concept of the “scary side of journalism” to a whole other level.

At the beginning of the event, they played videos documenting the stories of journalists James Foley and Austin Tice. Both were correspondents in Syria who were kidnapped months apart from each other in 2012. Their families worked persistently to discover the whereabouts of these men. The search for Foley ended tragically when footage of his beheading was released on YouTube. Tice, on the other hand, is still missing.

His mom, Debra Tice, along with Foley’s mom, Diane Foley, shared what they learned about the press and government through their experience. Hearing from these two women was eye-opening and it definitely made me wonder what the government could do to improve the way they handle this issue, which is becoming increasingly common as more and more journalists are being threatened in various parts of the world.

Of all the issues and questions raised tonight, what really stuck with me was the passion that drove Foley and Tice to willingly put their lives on the line to capture the conflict in Syria. Both of them did not have to go. In fact, both their families, and even some of their colleagues, urged them not to go, but they wanted to communicate the harsh realities of what is going on in the other side of the world. To me, that is the heart of journalism. Journalists exist to provide a window into lives, places and events that most others wouldn’t normally have access to.

But then, how far is too far? This is essentially what Kathleen Carroll of the Associated Press brought up in a discussion after Diane Foley and Debra Tice shared their experiences. She asked if the story was worth the risk. While this is a question that I don’t think I could ever fully answer, from an aspiring journalist’s point of view, if the story increases awareness amongst the public and equips them with the information they need to take action, I think that yes, it is worth it. I would not advise irresponsibly putting oneself in dangerous situations in order to get a story, but if there is a passion and clear purpose, the kind that I saw in Foley and Tice, then it is definitely worth it. I mean look at the impact it is having today. We are still talking about their work and almost three years after they went missing, they inspired me in my endeavors to report “nothing but the truth.”

In her closing remarks on the panel, Carroll said that in light of this issue, the news audience (a.k.a. everyone) has a responsibility to care about and appreciate the work that these journalists are doing. I can definitely say that this event gave me a deeper appreciation for the news. The price of that article you read or the video footage you watched goes beyond just a few dollars at the convenience store or having to endure a 30 second ad. There are journalists out there like Foley and Tice who are risking their lives, and that’s the real cost of news.



What is the Purpose of a Journalist? pt. 1

From the day that I decided to take this “journey to journalism,” I have been asking myself, “What is the purpose of journalists and the media?” Just like my “Is it possible to be unbiased?” question, this is most likely one that I will continue learning about for the rest of my life. That said, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some thoughts that I want to share.

Obviously, journalists are there to serve the public through distributing important and relevant information. When looked at it this way, journalism could be accurately described as a service. There is no denying that through the news media, people have been able to access information from weather forecasts to traffic reports to updates during an emergency or crisis. While I might be a little biased, I think it can be argued that journalists and the information they provide make life a little easier.

However, it does not stop there. Journalism is also a business. There are salaries to be paid and other competing publications to out-do, so to speak. This is not meant to be a negative aspect of journalism because practically everything in one way or another is a business. Every industry has  something that they want to sell to the public as well as its share of competitors. For the news media industry, it is important to think of ways to distribute the information in a way that is most convenient and appealing to potential viewers and readers and get it out to them before “breaking news” becomes “old news.”

So, here we have journalism as a service and journalism as a business. Where and when they both overlap in a perfect world is what I’m still trying to figure out. As with any business, sometimes news media can become corrupt and deceptive in an attempt to make one’s publication or article stand out amongst the billions of stories out there. It can become hard to draw the line between business and service as a journalist because yes, you want to serve the public (or at least, you should) but at the same time you need to think of innovative ways to present the news. This isn’t supposed to result in twisting stories to make them sound more interesting, but unfortunately, sometimes that happens.

What are your thoughts on this? What is the purpose of journalists? How can journalists be both business-minded and service-minded?

Reason: History in the Making

ImageA little word of advice: Don’t take a huge break from blogging/writing if you don’t have to. I’m finding it hard getting back into blogging because I’ve gotten… well… lazy from my break. In fact, this break, it was pretty easy to brainstorm things to blog about but the hard part was actually typing it out :P. However, Christmas break is coming to an end and so must my procrastination. 

That said, as I was watching Hoda Kotb (who I kind of “met in person”) and Kathie Lee Gifford host “A Toast to 2013” on New Year’s Eve, I was reminded of one of the many reasons why I decided to pursue journalism. As the journalists and special guests reflected over all the big events, surprises and trends that have popped up this past year, I realized that they were able to recall it so effortlessly because they played a huge role in each and every tragedy, viral video, natural disaster, and headline. 

While they obviously didn’t cause or experience most of the news they covered firsthand, journalists have to research, interview and really dig deep into the stories they cover so that they can serve as the link between the public and the big moments that happen each year. That’s what I want to be apart of. 

Sure, with deadlines and the fast-paced world of social media, it is hard to just sit back and enjoy the moment as a journalist, but on the other hand, by having to cover so many stories and events, journalists get to be a part of the moment. The stories that were at one time assignments and more work to do, eventually become our record of history. 

I really don’t think I’m doing this justice. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time explaining it in words (told you not to take a break from writing!). Anyway, it just amazes me to look at these people who bring us the news and think about the huge role they play in making history.