Friday, December 22

What is journalism all about?

I want to be a journalist. I'm not sure in what capacity (reporter most likely considering my recent experiences as Opinion editor) or in what medium (not TV) or, much less, publication (it is my hope that more time in the field will lend some guidance on these paths), but it's what I want to do.


There are practical considerations. It's a field one can actually get a job in and make a living on, and it's something I think I could enjoy doing. Not that these matter so much. I find it hard to believe I could not find these needs filled in any number of other occupations. In all truth, it probably wouldn't bother me to be a janitor or secretary if these were the only preconditions I looked to in a job.

No, my desire to professionally enter into journalism is based on what it's all about. Thomas Griffith called journalism "history on the run" in his essay The Pursuit of Journalism. I don't know who he is, except that he was an editor of Time and Nieman Fellow in 1943. In that same essay he referenced Matthew Arnold's quote, "Journalism is literature in a hurry." I respect Arnold as a poet, "Dover Beach" hangs in my dorm room. But I take a different view from both of these men.

Journalism, in its best form, is information, and information is a tool. With newspapers and magazines and the like, people are given what is necessary to make better decisions. They can choose to support or fight specific courses of action because of what they learned from the news. Money obscures the energies that go into production. In its way, journalism can disrupt that veil. That is what I want to do in my career. Whoo.

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