I was recently reading the Facebook page of a journalist I really respect and found out that she would be moving news stations. I, of course, was also reading through the comments underneath the post (because that’s always a positive experience…) and many were supportive, which is a welcome change from many many other things on the Internet. But, many were supportive for the wrong reason, in my opinion.
The journalist was going into a more “serious” news program and many praised her for going away from “fluffy” pieces to “real journalism.” This led me to take a few minutes to contemplate if I do “real journalism.” I mean it gets published in a real paper, not an imaginary one, as far as I know I use a pen, paper and laptop to create my work, not crayons, and all of my sources are indeed real, not my stuffed animals.
So, what is real journalism? Are we only allowed to report on death, wars, disease, and really depressing stuff? Are human-interest stories not news or are culture and human-interest writers not real journalists?
This is one thing that is extremely maddening to me. Of course, the fact that Anderson Cooper goes and reports on wars and saves children is AMAZING and so needed and if we didn’t have these journalists risking their lives and risking serious PTSD, we may live in a totalitarian society and be kept naïve like little pink piglets. But, does that leave no place for “fluff” journalism?
We all know the jokes, that the news is depressing and if it “bleeds it leads.” We all know sick, awful, terrible stuff, unfortunately get the most hits. But, if it weren’t for stories about children being adorable, the local play doing well or cat fashion shows (I’m looking at you, Veronica Corningstone), then the world would be even more depressing than it already is. I’m not talking about fluff news as in “what celeb had a wardrobe malfunction?,” I’m talking about human interests stories.
Anyone in the media knows that we are basically gluttons for punishment. We are told nearly daily that the media is ruining modern society and that the media is the reason why poor Kim Kardashian feels bad about herself. We have gotten out of hand and we are making America stupid. We get it, why do you think we all drink so much?
But, one thing I would love to be able to convey to someone/bang into their brains is that journalists of all kinds are doing you a PUBLIC SERVICE. They are showing that the world has some beauty left, that artists and actors and good people still actually exist and are actually thriving. And it’s really hard, even for these fluffy pieces everyone likes to pretend to be so above.
Because please don’t lie to me, when is the last time you scoffed at a story about a monkey taking care of a kitten and questioned its journalistic integrity? Nope, you ate that shit up, as does every person with a heart.
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