The other day, a member of the Chamber of Commerce came into class to speak to a room full of Journalism majors. When she learned what we were going to school for, her response was unguarded and I certainly hope she later regretted saying “Is that even a career anymore?”. Why on earth anyone would insult a career like that is beyond me. I certainly didn’t point out the fact that the magazine she later handed out to us obviously had been written by journalists…or that the articles she mentioned that they had coming out were most certainly penned by journalists. But, regardless of the fact that she upset me and I believe she is wrong, it’s still a question worth looking into.
I’m going to school to learn the correct art of writing, to put in full-time hours, to get paid, and to tell a story professionally. A citizen journalist doesn’t usually care about watching out for bias, correct word usage, capturing every angle, and ensuring their pieces are scrubbed over with the ethics of media. But, the real issue is: does the public really care about these differences? Is it worth it to them to get a credible source as opposed to a best friend’s blog about something? Some would probably prefer the latter- seeing it as more relative, more interesting, and perhaps even more truthful. Others want to hear it from someone who has been trained and is a legitimate source. But, so much skepticism makes me cringe at the thought of job security. I don’t want to feel like just anyone can do my job. I want to feel a sense of pride and importance. Not self-importance about how I am the only one who can perform my job (although that would be pretty great too). But I want to feel like my four years here have been worth it and they set me apart from an average person documenting their life. I want to know my work carries weight and will make a difference.
I’m thinking the only way that will happen is through Christ. The more He is in something, the more outrageous and unexpected the results. He can take a career, bless it, and turn it into something of a ministry. I don’t just want to be a regular journalist who has a B.S. under her wing. I want what I write to grip people and make them want to change or question their way of life not for my own ego boost, but because I was created with a purpose, as are they. Journalism has been diminished to a small, meaningless collection of news with little call to action and rarely cause for self-reflection. News has become a center for gossip, conversational “spice”, and comparison of lives rather than collaboration of ideas, learning from mistakes, and compassion toward those being exposed.