The first book that we’re reading for class is called Rise of the Blogosphere by Aaron Barlow. He used to work at Kutztown, which I think is really cool and that it somehow makes it more, I really don’t think “relatable” is the right word, but “relatable” in the sense that we’ve probably crossed paths with some of the same people in the same place. It brings the book and his thoughts down to earth.
All of this information about the rise of journalism and its main concepts is somewhat new to me. I did take an intro journalism class during my first semester of college, but as one can imagine, I haven’t retained much of the information that I learned or was tested on in that class. Oops. After all, I’m an education major, not a communication or a journalism major. So, some of the background seems like things that I’ve heard of before that I think I vaguely remember, but much of it seems more like new information because of how little I retained.
One of the first things in Barlow’s introduction that stuck out to me was a quote from Leonard Downie, Jr. on page xvi:
Good journalism holds communities together in times of crisis, providing the information and the images that constitute shared experience. When disaster strikes, the news media give readers and viewers something to hold on to — facts, but also explanation and discussion that can help people deal with the unexpected.
We are in a time of crisis.
With everything that’s been going on with our quasi-dictator spewing hate towards specific media and news outlets and accusing legitimate sources as being “fake news,” I feel as though, in a sense, the tables have turned a bit; the spotlight is now on the media, much more so than in the past.
What constitutes “good journalism” is technically subjective, but objectively, in my opinion at least, good journalism is truth.
What I think is so interesting about Downie’s quote is that, taking into account the two traditional sides of politics, each is a community that has come together during this “time of crisis” and rely so heavily upon other like-minded individuals to validate their shared opinions and experiences. Peoples’ biases inherently affect how they interpret what news is being put out there and what they read. This allows them to strengthen their opinions and points of view which subsequently strengthens their community and gives them “something to hold on to.”
Another thing to point out that I think is especially profound about Downie’s quote, especially now in 2017, is that it raises the question as to whether or not social media outlets, specifically Twitter, can be considered to be this kind of “good journalism.”
Twitter fulfills all of the requirements that Downie proposes: it connects like-minded communities in “times of crisis,” allowing for people all over the world to speak to and support each other, creating “explanation and discussion that can help people deal with the unexpected” which gives them “something to hold on to” when “disaster strikes.”
The 2016 Presidential Campaign. November 9, 2016. The Inauguration. The Women’s March. The Muslim ban.
This kind of connection and interaction has becoming more and more mainstream on Twitter, and even on Facebook, and we will undoubtedly see it become even more prevalent as our new president continues to make controversial (and unconstitutional) decisions.