Disrupting Traditional Journalism

Being in the Professional Writing Program in University of Toronto Mississauga, the thought of going into journalism has always been in my mind. TIL the advancement in technology and the rise of social media changed the game so much that journalism was not as we remembered it to be. Reporters with notepads and extensive articles are replaced by iPads, tweets and story updates. In order to gain an edge in this ever-changing playing field, we should understand what the expectations and future is for journalism.

In our lecture, we learnt that it is easy to call yourself a journalist, but not easy to be one. Turner refers to journalism as an account of daily events that is processed and distributed by a series of professional industrial routines. Nowadays, it’s more automatic. There are even computers that can analyse and write a whole sports essay without the help of a human. There are no requirements, no certification and no license needed. All you have to do is pick up a pen and a piece of paper, publish something and call yourself a journalist. But if you want to get to the juicy stuff, you need a press pass. And to get a press pass, you need credentials. And to get credentials you need to be a good journalist.

Good journalism entails that we view every source as legitimate. It is important to view the world as a whole so collecting a wide range of opinions ensures that. Journalists also should separate lies from the truths. But these are just ideals. Mere heroic ideology of journalism. Most journalism we see now shape the world the way they want us to see. They shape the public discourse and create a simulated version of the world that differs from the real world. For example, US media reporting on the Afghan War or other wars tactfully removed reports on civilians killed and focused on “bad guys” killed.

However journalism isn’t all that bad. Sometimes, journalists act as watchdogs. They expose and monitor those with power and influence. For example, even if some US media covers up the war crimes during the wars, others work to expose the Iraq war. Julia Wong exposed labor abuses at Tesla’s Fremont, California. Others exposed the Downing Street Memo between the US and the UK and also secrets of the US government by the whistle blower Edward Snowden.

The news also acts as a propaganda. According to our professor, there’s usually a 6 step process and ends up with a cleansed filtered 5th edition. Media companies first filter out ownership issues, then advertisement issues then sources and strong criticism and finally anti communist ideology. Anything that reflects badly on major companies or parties involved with the government and media company is removed.

If we decide to be journalists right now, we most likely will be backpack journalists according to Stovall. What it means is that we write our own stories, take our own photos and provide the audios and videos. Being knowledgeable with cameras mean a lot in photos. According to another classmate of mine, wide shots, mid range shots and closeup shots provide different viewpoints. The difference of shots also cast a different light on the subject. That’s how we feel animosity to some subjects in photos while we feel pity towards others.

In our discussion, we talked about the possibility of working as a journalist. I feel like if I work as a journalist, I won’t be too bothered about asking strangers questions, including celebrities. Someone mentioned that the credibility of her company also mattered a lot. If she was backed by a reputable organization whe wouldn’t feel as embarrassed as an independent journalist. I had experience interviewing a celebrity before in high school. I didn’t feel nervous, it was interesting. Like what another classmate said, these people love to be heard. I don’t think it would be too hard if I asked the right questions. Definitely not personal questions as well, we all know how that will end up.

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