Why Journalism Sucks, But We Would Be Lost If We Didn’t Have It.

Journalism, the moral and ethical backbone of society. When everything else in this world fails you, journalism has your back. It’s the sword and shield of the little man, and the great terror of the corrupt and unjust. The like flaming swords of the archangel or the world, sworn to protect those who are wronged and to take down those who think they are bigger than society! The question is, is it really?

It used to be or so we are made to believe. But lets be honest that was just what Hollywood and comic books tell us it should be. Journalism now-a-days is just like everything else. Its just another job. Journalist are placed high up on the “ideal” social standing of society. We are up there with police, fire fighters, and presidents. The truth is journalism has disintegrated to just another nine-to-fiver, another good way to pass the time between early morning traffic and a late beer with the boys. It used to be a prestigious career to be a part of but now we are just bottom feeders, picking up scraps to make the little money we get paid to feed ourselves and our families. Even Superman was a Journalist when he was not fighting crime.

It used to be a job of hard graft. Journalist used to be armed with pens and note pads. Hitting the streets to get news of what is going on in their world, competing with police to bust major crimes, finding truth in where others couldn’t and taking on politicians and businessmen who had been pushing the little man around and getting fat off his hard sweat. Those days are gone.

It used to be you had to go to school to be a journalist, you had to be creative, you had to be smart, and you had to know how to write well. You had to work long hours constantly competing with other journalist just like yourself to get your by line. Again, those days are gone.

With the evolution of modern technology, and we can agree it has been a marvellous evolution, anyone can become a “journalist”. Most of the significant mainstream news stories in the last five years have been released by ordinary people with not so ordinary technology. People using things such as smart phones and the many applications they come with . For example the death of The King of Pop Michael Jackson, was first released by a small website and blown up by people technology to spread the word. Social Networks have become another tool to deal with for professional journalists. Social networks can be used to spread news faster than any newspaper or television and radio broadcast could. The truth is technology is like the hare form the old parable of the tortoise and the hare. Journalism, the hare, went to sleep and technology has passed it by.

The future of journalism?

Because of this increase in technology and the increase of access, journalists are now competing with the Average Joe to break news, and to keep their jobs. The problems is even though the modern day journalist has to be up to date with technology, the market of how many people have this technology vastly out weighs the amount of journalists.

the reality is journalism is not as cut out as people make it out to be. The job is hard and demands a lot of hours out of you, way more than the average nine-to-five. You will more than likely be called after hours to cover a story that you have absolutely no interest in doing but you have to because it is your job. You often have to schmooze people you don’t really like, even despise with your very core just to get a story or even a small bit of detail. Worst of all, and let me say this to clear this up for people. Journalists do not get paid well!

It used to be journalist were respected, now-a-days they are hated by almost everyone. They get verbally attacked and sometimes even physically. Most times people would rather eat their own faeces than help or deal with journalists. This has a lot to do with what journalism has let itself become. Now-a-days it’s rare to find a great piece of journalism that is a throwback to the old days. These days it’s all about covering crime, pets, significant events or what celebrities are doing with themselves. Scandal hog our headlines instead of stories of heroics, or major controversies that a journalist uncovered. Journalist no longer go out to find stories. These days they wait for press releases from police, emergency services, public relations companies and political parties . You then have to wait even longer to get a comment from one of these aforementioned entities. Journalist have also allowed themselves to become slags to public figures and politicians, who use journalists to promote themselves or to carry out bitter rivalries in the press. Some journalists even go as far as taking bribes, contradictory but true, Media companies are even paying for stories these days!

Not all the hatred that journalist feel is not their fault. All of the sudden journalists seem to have forgotten the code of ethics that was drilled into them when they were studying to become journalists and when they first started working in the field, news rooms have become accustomed to publishing in accurate facts and following it up with a small page five apology that is no bigger that the first five letters on the keyboards they type on. Some times news outlets feel the need to carry out a character assassination on a key figure because they don’t feel he is doesn’t deserve to be where is or even if they just don’t like him.

Despite all this, the bad journalism, the average person who thinks he is a future Pulitzer Prize winner and modern technology, journalism and it’s vessels will never die. Why you might ask, because people need them. No matter how disgruntled people get they need to have their news told to them by credible establishment with credible people. People who are trained in what they do and know how to execute. now let me stop writing, no one is paying me for this.

  1. Sanelisiwe Malinga says:

    I sometimes wish that I was born in the apartheid times so I can experience and see the hard working journalists and what it means to be a true journalist. I feel that technology has made us very lazy and there’s not much effort needed to become a journalist. Technology has made it hard for most of us and now it’s even more difficult to set yourself apart from others. Nowadays there’s the backstabbing and who gets the story out first. What happened to being comrades of South Africa who help each other in order to one day grow from each other. I guess we’ve been too clouded with the materialistic side of journalism. Journalists do really suck!

  2. Wow Mitch, had no idea you were such a romantic! Journalists of old had noble wars to fight, they actually had a role to play in society as important as a doctor, teacher, nurse etc. The pen was their weapon and they fought tirelessly because their work meant something, could actually make a difference. Manje, we trudge through stories seeking scandal (cause that’s what makes the story right!?), with one eye on spin doctoring. We have forgotten that under the dowdy grey suit is a Superman cape that allows us to fly!
    The causes may have changed, but there is still a righteous fight to be fought. We still have a part to fulfill but we are being swept away by the waves of PR, complacency and fear.

  3. Sihle Mlambo says:

    Well written truths, all ov it, i’m a bit surprised you opted for Superman as a journalist rather than Spiderman. Spiderman’s the shit. #deathby lemme stop writing, no one is paying me for this

  4. zamalerato says:

    Wow,well written..the work of a real journalist 😉

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