There you have it, from the mouth of Gandhi himself, the touted gold standard on non-violent activism and general, all-around, good guy. While that is a fact that is disputed by some, it should stand as a testament to how even one of the greatest examples of what it means to 'love your enemies' derided the press and all its assorted characters. Then again, this quote seems a little curious considering Gandhi's reliance on the press to make India's plight a global issue, forcing the British to rethink their colonial stranglehold on his homeland. Perhaps he had mixed feelings towards the press. Which, I would imagine, encapsulates a lot of how most of us feel about the press.
I didn't plan on using all 'I' adjectives to describe the press but it totally worked and then I rolled with it. I think we all can agree with at least the first adjective when it comes to how we would describe the press at large. Convincing everyone else of the other three (perhaps just the latter two even), might be a harder one. And don't worry, I don't need convincing; one can just take a look at how many of my blogs and Tapeinos Newsfeed posts use news website links. Its everybody else that needs convincing.
Few people I think consider the press as vital, except for those that read it prolifically. Most of us laugh at the press for its intense search of the next story, for that big scoop. When people think of journalism they think of tabloids and entertainment news and celebrity break-ups and hook-ups. We reduce journalism to a constant play for our attention by using hokey gimmicks. And to a point, that's definitely true. It happens.
And that's terrible, just honestly terrible.
I recently watched the movie Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber, Stanley Tucci and others. It's been nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I think it has a serious chance of winning it. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen.
Maybe that's because I have a soft spot for movies that portray the field of writing, specifically journalism, in such a real, authentic light. The movie follows the special team of the Boston Globe, Spotlight, as they delve into the scandal that ended up shaking the Archdiocese of Boston to its core: of child molestation charges against almost 90 priests that the Cardinal Law tried to cover up. It was an earth-shaking, belief questioning exposé into an integral, flesh and blood part of Bostonian life: Catholicism. As this movie shows, no one wanted them to do this story.
It messed with the system.
It exposed the lies and deceit and wrongness in what was supposed to be the beacon of good in this world.
This was important. This changed things.
Here's the story.
Watching Spotlight awoke something in me because it reminded me of something.
Development and the press I think don't get enough - pardon the pun - press. I'm of the opinion that good, investigative journalism is an inexorable part of a developed society, because it keeps institutions accountable to its people. But I'll take these thoughts as more than opinion though. I think that I'm right, and that good development and good investigative journalism as a combo isn't just a good idea, but it's a stone cold fact that we need good journalism in a developed society.
Just take a look at all those links that I've used on this site. It's great. I get to educate myself on how people write, and on how people interpret the world through their various political/ideological/whatever lenses. This kind of stuff is worth reading, and the really good stuff is vital for reading on how our world functions and on how people think that it functions today in this day and age.
So is there anyone else out there that thinks that watchdog journalism like this is vital to a vibrant civil society?
It just seems like something that's chronically swept under the rug. Is it because I'm wrong? That maybe good journalism is just a random feature of a developed society, and not vital?
I don't think I'm wrong about this. And if I am, how would I know? There's not a whole lot of conversation about it. So that's why I want your feedback on this.
That means COMMENTS PLEASE.
Facebook, Twitter, or even better on this blog post I want you to put in your two cents, in regards to these questions. Take your pick. And don't leave one word answers, or your comments are getting deleted, because they're a waste.
I'm passionate about this. And I want to see what you all think.
Is journalism important?
Why do we discredit/ignore the importance of the press in a vibrant civil society? Or do we?
How can we make journalism 'good'?
Looking forward to seeing what you all have to say :)