Recently, I shared a post on Facebook proclaiming that news comes from people. Actual people… not imaginary sources that magically aggregate important information.
What spurred my post was a meme that went: “Saying: I don’t need newspapers, I get my news from the internet” is the same as saying “I know right? And I don’t need farmers: ‘cause I get my food at the supermarket.”
That graphic stunned me. It opened my eyes. Yes, this is how some people honestly view the media these days.
Since about 2015 when the last presidential election started, the term “media” has been blasted and twisted to infer that editorializing and force-feeding opinion is the norm for journalism. I want people to know that is not the case. A true journalist is passionate about a subject, yes, but is objective. We are to be unbiased when it comes to reporting the news… whether that be about the United States President or the Knox County Judge-Executive. An agenda behind our stories would serve no purpose but to hurt our business financially, not to mention ethically.
Those people who say newspapers are dead also put stock in faith that Facebook and Instagram will be around for decades to record the annuls of history. A shift in the stock market or new tech can make the social media we rely on today completely obsolete, and it will happen in time. No corporation is too big to be undone. When it happens, what will happen to your kid’s graduation photos, your prom dress photos, your marriage announcements? It’s great that we can share that information infinitely right now, but when times change and tech evolves, the one medium that has been around for centuries and has weathered all changes in media will remain: the community newspaper.
You see, it’s not just a medium that delivers news to you. It’s a catalog of the life of your community. Furthermore, that catalog is an employer in your community. The people who report the news, who take the sports photos, who design the pages… they are your friends, neighbors and family members.
Journalists are people, too. We aren’t cold-hearted avatars that exist to antagonize you. We are people who have mortgages, car payments, insurance, hospital bills and dance lessons. We are people. We are part of your community.
The next time you say “I just read my news from the Internet,” remember that those words just didn’t appear. They were written by a journalist. The next time you don’t like something the newspaper, radio station or TV station does and yell “Boycott!” please remember who you really hurt.
The community newspaper will always be around to serve you, its reader.