Culture Politics

What I Learned From Majoring in Journalism

  1.  The medium is the message.  What you say is as important as how you say it.  For example, if you break up with someone over a text message, you’re sending the message that the person didn’t really mean that much to you.  Artists use this principle too:  does a sculpture send a more powerful message than a 2-D print?  What is a story saying if it’s presented as a movie versus a YouTube series?  The medium is the message.
  2. Journalists shouldn’t tell readers what to think, but what to think about.  Journalists are supposed to present facts and let readers come to their own conclusions.  They usually don’t, though, because
  3. Media means business.  Every form of media exists to make money.  Not to bring people the truth, not to serve as The Fifth Estate mediating between the people and the politicians, but to make money.
  4. Anchorman 2 is basically the most accurate movie about journalism ever made.  Seriously.  That part where they decide to broadcast a high- speed car chase 24/7, and then devote a whole CHANNEL to broadcasting car chases 24/7?  That’s literally how CNN was born.  Viewers rule the news.
  5. A good story beats a true story.  This one I didn’t learn in journalism school per se, but it’s proven itself true time and time again over these last three years.  The Trump Phenomenon shows people would rather hear a good story than a true story.  That’s why everybody loves “fake news” so much.
  6. Pay for good journalism.  See #3.  In the absence of consumer support, journalism turns to advertisers, who only want to advertise based on the number of ears of eyeballs reached, which puts pressure on news sources to succumb to #5, which degrades the integrity of #2.

    If you like something, pay for it.  Give to NPR, give to your favorite podcast, subscribe to your local newspaper, give into that Web site that keeps asking you to turn off your Ad Blocker.  It’s not that much money and it makes a huge difference.


1 comment on “What I Learned From Majoring in Journalism

  1. Pingback: Pearls Before Swine: Truth’s Taken A Real Beating Lately – CRITIC OF EVERYTHING

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