Why in the world would anyone want to be a journalist?
In a recent article published by NBC News, the organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB) compared the number of journalists worldwide who were detained in 2017 to 2018. The number jumped from 326 to 348 individuals.
The United States recently made its way onto RWB’s list of most dangerous countries for reporters, earning a spot in the top five for the first time ever.
“At least 63 professional journalists were killed doing their jobs in 2018,” said NBC News.
Reporters were killed on the job in only three countries on RWB’s list. The U.S. is one, after the horrifying events that took place in Annapolis, Maryland at the Capital Gazette.
That summer, through just the breaking news reports we gathered around TVs and social media, we gleaned one important thing: the reporters on the Gazette probably got their start as nosy kids like us. Most of us on the Penmen Press found journalistic passion by wanting to be in the room where it happens, by wanting to know more.
What we know as media today is noisy. For every journalist out there being the watchdog, it can feel like there are a dozen more fulfilling an agenda. Some journalists take their role to be an advocate. As Melanie Plenda from the Granite State News Collaborative stated, “Advocacy is not a journalist’s job.” Their job is to present information and ask questions the public needs to know. Then, let the public decide. Journalists are a service to the public.
“If we can get the public to trust individual journalists. . . future ‘news activists’ can find their place and voice without fear of being targeted as the enemy,” said Carol Robidoux, founder of the local, online publication Manchester Ink Link.
While we’ve been enticed by the power of knowledge, we’ve stayed because we value truth. We’ve stayed because people need a platform without fear of being censored or harassed. Social media has made sharing much more efficient but not more productive.
Our generation navigates digital space with ease, but we need to learn how to seamlessly integrate journalism between the web and the real world.
Through this school paper, we gain media literacy, the ability for one to process and critically think within the multimedia world we live in. This is our superpower, and this skill is ever important.
With a growing roster of over fifty members, The Penmen Press often questions what it is that keeps our journalists dedicated to our newspaper. It’s curious they even got here to begin with, in a school without a traditional journalism program.
But upon further inspection, their reason becomes as simple as the desire to share SNHU’s story and inform the public of the things that may brew behind closed doors. They bring their diverse backgrounds together to see the full picture and tell it in the ways that are important to them: through writing, video, social media and even a new podcast. All in the spirit of community engagement.
“We are storytellers and truth-seekers, information gatherers and disseminators,” said Robidoux.
Because they are here, there is hope.