Why does journalism matter?

Photo: Pete Souza (White House photographer) - Journalists in Oval Office

Photo: Pete Souza (White House photographer) – Journalists in Oval Office

Well, it doesn’t–not in a dictatorship or absolute monarchy. There’s no voting, there’s no public engagement in the life of the nation. But access to fact-based news and independent analysis is essential to a functioning democracy. I do not think this can be overstated. If the public is uninformed or misinformed, the dictator can do what he wants. Period.

Of course, it’s not always black and white. And that’s kind of where we’re at right now, in the gray zone. Reliable journalism is under attack from political ideologues and from the current administration. That’s a fact. That is not a partisan statement.

Our job–your job–is to keep journalism strong. Once we lose trustworthy reporters, it’s not that easy to get them back. And, without them, we’re all flying blind.

The Watertown Daily Times, our colleagues in the business of real news, published a much-appreciated editorial to lend support to NCPR’s fundraising and the work supported by public contributions. Back at you friends: newspapers and commercial radio stations are essential to the life of every community. We must not lose any more of these local institutions–subscribe and listen.

We’re all in this together.

4 Comments on “Why does journalism matter?”

  1. Heather Wheeler says:

    YES!!! (And thank you.)

  2. Balian the Cat says:

    The problem for me is, how do we know whether or not we still have access to “trustworthy” reporters? Mass Media has become, to my mind, akin to professional wrestling – you like the “good guy” or the “bad guy” and follow/trust them unthinkingly regardless of their actions. To my mind FOX is laughable but my gut tells me not to trust CNN either as they are probably just saying what I want to hear. Judy Woodruff appears sane and rational to me, but my faith in her might constitute confirmation bias. Perhaps, before we label reporters as trustworthy or not, we should recommit to Reality as individuals. Get as near the truth as possible instead of seeking to hear only that which comforts us /supports our beliefs. I, for example, am ashamed of myself for thinking that we had ceased to be such a racist/intolerant society. I need to do better with the reality of that. Whats the old saying: “a mind is like a parachute – it only functions when it’s open.”

  3. Pete Klein says:

    Ellen, I support everyone – those I agree with and those I don’t agree with. I look at all news sources to even include RT. I take everything written and said with a grain of salt, and sometimes with a handful of salt.
    Who do I least trust? Anyone in government and especially anyone in a government agency and I especial don’t trust the FBI and CIA. Both of those are professionals at lying and propaganda.
    Good news, you are one of the good guys.

  4. Ellen Rocco says:

    A media/journalism story that has stayed with me for 20 years…
    A left-wing friend of mine who supported the Sandista takeover of Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega was telling me about how Ortega had shut down the right-wing television station and newspaper. I was horrified. My friend argued that the means justified the end, that it was important for the Sandistas to consolidate and strengthen their power. I told him the first amendment–and a free press–are meaningless if we aren’t willing to extend those same freedoms to those we disagree with…even in extraordinary times. The first amendment and the press are most important in difficult political times, regardless of whether your “guy” is in power or not.

    Now more than ever we need a robust press (including electronic journalism) across the political spectrum.

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