By Joseph Palumbo
Here at Metro State, I hope to earn a degree in Professional Communication. I am taking this class, among many others, because I want to be a journalist. Since my senior year of high school, I have been convinced that this should be my life’s pursuit. However, I have recently learned that, according to Forbes, journalism is less trusted than other professions. This is a sad state of affairs, as journalism provides a valuable service to the community.
Colloquially known as “the fourth branch of government”, American journalism is intended to serve as a check on the powerful. This power may be political, economic or religious but the principle remains the same. The job of a journalist is to inform the public of what goes in the world. Countries that discourage independent journalism do so to protect powerful interests, at the expense of the people.
In the United States, the 1st Amendment of the Constitution guarantees “freedom of the press”. For some time however, this right has been challenged by battalions armed riot squads firing on reporters in the street. Whether it was the 2014 Ferguson riots in Missouri or the recent riots in Minneapolis, authorities have demonstrated little regard for reporters and their right to cover these events.
With all these problems facing reporters, media organizations themselves may have just as much blame in this erosion of public trust. The news most Americans consume come from large conglomerates beholden to special interests, rather than to their role as public informers. As taxpaying citizens, we need to hold authorities accountable for their actions and, as we consider media an “authority” of sorts, this includes news organizations. Luckily, an initiative to build strong local journalism is well on its way. Although it will take a long time to build back this trust from the ground up.