If there is one thing Rolling Stone, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and Brian Williams are proving to me, it’s that the career field I decided to enter when I picked my major in college is not where it should be, and I often fear that it might not go back.
I’ve talked about journalism before, and without fail it brings out those of you who very understandably have no faith, love, or hope for journalism, journalists, and news media in general. I don’t blame you. Before my career switch over the summer, I often wondered if I had made the right choice (the career jump I made had nothing to do with a loss of love for the career, but was based entirely on providing a better life for me and my family).
So, when I say that I do love journalism, and I loved working within the field, I tend to disagree with those comment below those posts calling it (and sometimes me) worthless and a waste of time in college and life. I do not for an instant regret the education I got, nor do I regret the time I spent working in the field. I honestly wish I could have done more within it, but circumstances change.
However, when I see the Sabrina Erdelys and even the Rollingest of Stones, I get heartbroken at where the field has ended up. The journalism I was taught was 90% what you expect journalists to provide in the media. The other 10% was a kind woman who was nonetheless liberal as all hell and her choices in what she wanted us as students to cover showed. Still, I even appreciate her providing me with the education she did, because she taught me the basics while letting me observe what not to do. I will still give this woman a hug if I saw her.
The entire field is not hopelessly lost, mind you. On the smaller, more local scale, you find the last holdouts of true journalists. Some of my best friends from college and in my professional life are working as the best local reporters in Louisiana, Texas, and elsewhere. Sure, some went into related fields like public relations and political writing and consulting, but that bit of diversity happens. But, the ones who stayed in journalism are truly devoted to doing what they were taught to do. We didn’t go to a big-time journalism school. We went to a small state college and did what we had to do to graduate with the best education possible.
What is happening to the larger outlets, though? Why is there such a divide between the good local reporters and the completely-biased guys on TV and in the major newspapers? There are plenty of answers, and I don’t know that I can touch on them all, but I do get really upset when I see something like what’s going on at Rolling Stone, because it leaves me completely flabbergasted at what those journalists, who I had assumed were taught the same things I was taught, think about when they work on a story.
EDIT: I acknowledge completely, by the way, that along with switching careers, I also write for RedState.com, an influencial right-wing blog. I am not soullessly neutral on all things (Jake Tapper admits to being biased about sports – no one is perfect).