Depressing focus as young journalists face unstable future

Depressing focus as young journalists face unstable future
February 17, 2017 Katie Stark

News these days is depressing. It seems the media has developed an obsession with over covering disasters and drama. Any feel-good news is generally ignored in favor of highlighting the latest scandal or disaster. Of course, tragic events must be reported, however sometimes the focus should be on the good things people do rather than the evil.

At a Harvard University event that focused on the boundaries of modern journalism, Lolly Bowean, reporter for the Chicago Tribune explained how she does her best to focus stories of people working for the betterment of their communities.

“In my own work, I’ve tried to make sure that I pay attention to communities and neighborhoods and try to highlight people like LoQuator Dinkins, who are doing the best that they can with the resources that they can,” She said, “You see, when I’m when I write about someone like LoQuator Dinkins, a regular, ordinary, everyday person who is finding the best in themselves, I’m reminded of how great we are as people.”

One study conducted at McGill University showed that media consumers subconsciously prefer more negative news rather than positive news. However, when asked, participants generally said that the media covered too much negative news, and that they would rather see more positive news.

“When it comes to our own lives, most of us believe we’re better than average, and that, like the clichés, we expect things to be all right in the end. This pleasant view of the world makes bad news all the more surprising and salient. It is only against a light background that the dark spots are highlighted,” wrote BBC reporter, Tom Stafford.

Journalists cannot pick what news happens, but they can give a voice to people who want to make the world a better place.

Another point brought up at the Harvard event was about this importance of supporting good journalism.

“It’s intellectually and I would argue ultimately emotionally rewarding to pursue quality journalism. I think there are a lot of people out there who do it. And by all means support those people who are doing it — support good-quality journalism, subscribe to good-quality news organizations,” said Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal.

Many young journalists are being discouraged for entering the profession based on the overall mistrust of media. Financial journalist Felix Salmon, strongly discourages young students from entering into the profession today.

“I’m sure that many people have told you this already, but take it from me as well: journalism is a dumb career move. If there’s something else you also love, something else you’re good at, something else which makes the world a better place — then maybe you should think about doing that instead,” Salmon wrote on a blog post directed at young journalists.

But CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter says to take this opportunity to seize ahold of the new age of news.

“Every day is a better day for access to information. And that, I think more than anything else, is a reason for young journalists to be optimistic– not to give up on this profession, as some of them tell me they’re considering, not to fear entering the profession of journalism, just because the president says he’s at war with it,” he said. “But actually to seize the opportunity.”

Katie Stark
Katie Stark from Palmer, Alaska, is a junior studying journalism at University of Alaska Fairbanks. She's published photos and news stories in the The Sun Star, the university student-run newspaper. She is also part of the Nanook Women’s Swim Team. In her free time, Katie likes to be outside, read dystopian, utopian, and adventure novels, spend time with friends and family, and travel to anywhere as long as it is somewhere she hasn't been before.

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