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Journalism isn’t dying, just changing
Posted Oct. 12, 2007

Andres Rivera
Web Editor

The hardest part about being a journalist is to know that your profession is radically changing every day. Downsizing among newspapers, the advent of citizen journalism and bloggers giving their version of the news have caused news agencies to rethink the way that information is presented to the masses. No longer are millions of people swarming around town with a paper in hand. Although the pool of newspapers in circulation is getting smaller and the chances of keeping a job in the field may be a little rocky depending on what else you can do other than write, it helps to remember that the profession will not die but evolve.

This is something that I truly came to believe in after returning from the Society of Professional Journalists National Convention held in Washington, D.C., last weekend.

The seminars were interesting and the high profile speakers like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, famed journalists that uncovered Watergate, and USA Today Editor Ken Paulson were inspirational. But it wasn’t until the taxicab ride to the airport that I felt like a journalist or rather an advocate for journalism.

While making the normal small talk with the cab driver; talking of the weather, the tourist attractions and yes, even seeing the presidential helicopter fly overhead while crossing a bridge earlier in the day, talk about media coverage snuck in.

The driver started lecturing on how the media was one-sided, tried to carry its own agenda and did not truly report the news. He compared our news stations to those of his native country and said he could not find one station here that he could trust. I couldn’t help but smile as George Keeler, professor of journalism at the University of La Verne, replied to his rant by saying, “We’re journalists.”

It’s funny how a couple of human mistakes by a reporter can tarnish the profession for others.

Yes there are some reporters that don’t follow ethical standards or neglect to check a fact before running a story. But those are few and far in between.

The hotel hosted to hundreds of good reporters that weekend. Reporters that not only seek and report news in their respected cities but also encourage and promote the ideals of journalism so that future journalist can do the same.

Sometimes being an advocate for your own profession is just as important as providing a quality product. It is easy to get in to the rut of meeting deadlines, choosing what stories to run, localize a national or international issue but forget what else is happening.

Reporting comes at a price at times, whether it’s being placed in contempt of court for not giving up a source’s name or dying for being too close or a part of the action. All this newer technology cripples seasoned journalists. Blogs are barely starting to be accepted into the media mainstream and interactive media is still in a developing stage.

The future of the current definition of reporter is uncertain. However, whatwe can know for sure is that the reporter will still be needed and will continue to get the job done whether there is a federal shield law in place or whether it will be in a strictly online format. As long as there are advocates for the protection of the profession and what it produces, there will be journalists walking up to you for a comment.

Andres Rivera, a senior journalism major, is Web editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at arivera3@ulv.edu.