In recent weeks, “real journalists” have been been wondering what the Rupert Murdoch escapades have done in the way of damaging the legitimate press.
First, notice that we said “real journalists.” We live in a time and place where the plethora of communications devices may have far exceeded ethics. But please don’t paint us with a broad brush but rather look deeper and note that “blogs” are not journalism, nor are Facebooks, Twitters and other such venues of transmitting information from the street.
“Real journalists” pride themselves in being day-to- day historians, watchdogs and transmitters of information worthy of dialogue and meeting a litmus test of having socially redeeming value.
That is not to say that Facebook and Twitter do not have value, it’s just to say that it’s not journalism.
The shenanigans of “The News of The World” owned by Murdoch defy ethics and integrity. Many of us who have formal educations in journalism were required to take courses titled “Journalism Law and Ethics.”
As well, we in the profession hold in-house seminars and workshops to continue to uplift such honorable concepts.
What happened in Great Britain with Murdoch’s property should not be viewed as a setback to real journalism but rather an expose of London tabloid antics.
Many of us work for “community newspapers.” We strive to keep the public informed of the goings-on down the street, across town and over the back fence. It’s about town councils, county commissions, Little League, church meetings, chicken dinners, drug busts, new businesses and the lady who needs a new roof on her house because the tornado took her old one.
It’s about a benefit sing to help a poor family get medical care. It’s about a new road that will improve access to our community. And it’s about rains that have brought relief to thirsty crops.
We are not looking for Jimmy Hoffa’s body nor do we hire private investigators to peek in windows and take pictures of indiscretions. There is not a lot of international intrigue in what we do. We have a vested interest in our community.
Speaking for many in this profession, particularly those of us who consider ourselves “community newspapers,” this too shall pass. We will continue doing what we do on a daily basis, and we will seek to do it well and honorably.