May 4, 2007

My Connection to the Vision

The mission of journalism is to find truth and tell it. Tell stories about what's really happening to real people and tell them so that real people can connect to those stories. So many people have animosity toward the media these days. How much of that is successful spin by our current administration and its pundits and how much is it that the stories are not accessible to everyday people? There are lots of challenges. Journalists are human and have weakness and bias just like everyone else. But the niche media that panders to a particular political sector conflicts with journalism's responsibility to diseminate information to all people, regardless of their affiliations and politics. That's a challenge.

It seems trite to call myself a life-long student, a student of life, but that's the truth. I am great at being a student, too, but not so great at earning money doing something I'm passionate about. They say "do what you love and the money will follow." Writing - telling stories about what I learn - may be the magic combination.

I see myself writing freelance. I am interested in so many things. I have the often contradictory capacity for skepticism and empathy; I expect they will both come in handy.

It is a turbulent time in the history of the profession of journalism, not just technology-wise, but also the "flattening" of the earth due to globalization (I dislike Thomas Friedman, but his characterization is accurate). Media elites have more power to shape the message than ever.

Cynics (including me) say it's all downhill, that conglomeration will be its death and t.v., cinema, the Internet will only transmit hegemonic propaganda from now on- it already does to a large degree. But then I meet the people working on the front lines like Eric Black, Michael Caputo and Bill Salsbury, and read stuff from activists like Robert McChesney, Bill Moyers, Sheldon Rampton, Greg Palast, and meet the J School teachers and fellow students and I am reinvigorated and encouraged by their intelligence, committment and vision. I have to check myself, did I say that? I guess I am one of those optimists, too.