Friday, February 1, 2013

the journalism dilemma

My, how fast time has graced us. February is now knocking on our doorsteps and as mere mortals who could not but heed the call of time, what are we to do but if not to open the doors and usher out the frail, ailing yet still optimistic January? Time indeed, moves along. And we aren't getting any younger.

I'm growing older against my own will. And at this age, one would have already been expected to be thrusted into the working World; earning his keep, making a name for himself and giving back to society. I paved this pathway forward through my Journalism degree - Holding on to an adolescent dream (that remains until today) to change society and the World for the better. You would have expected the harsh realities to diffuse that dream as it had done to so many others. But I hold on still.

Being in this line of expertise, my pathway is obvious: I am to be a journalist; a profession that hands you the power of public opinion through information dissemination. It's a heavy burden and my heart trembles even now thinking about how much power that is all encompassed in just writing. Journalism isn't just about writing. It's about diligent research, accuracy, factual cross-referencing but more importantly, civic duty. The Malaysian journalism scene may be less than ideal to the standards and ethic of journalism but I carry on.


In the face of sensationalism, yellow journalism, scandals and corruption - I hope to allow society's focus to rise beyond that and see what truly matters. What about our homeless, the poor and the impoverished? The wretched, the misunderstood and the powerless? The voiceless, the uninitiated and the ones in-between? This is the voices journalists are meant to empower and give courage to. Every individual has a story to tell and we're here to be of service.

Of course, one cannot deny that social networks and technology breakthroughs have thinned the line of expression. Anyone with an internet connection and social media account is able to express their opinion across for the World to see. But in a disturbing and similar quality to journalism, it remains to be seen whether the message has any impact. Because at the end of the day, that's why I'm here. Five years into my studies - I stand strong to argue that the journalism industry is by far the most important among all in the communications industry.

You can say that without advertising, where does one seek materialistic profit. Without public relations, one cannot expect to hold a connective bridge between parties. Without broadcasting or publishing (which is actually just visual journalism or entertainment, depending on your viewpoint), there is no sensual message to send across. But which one among these majors, I ask you, carry civic duty? Which one puts the public first and foremost in their stride? Journalism.

Sure, you can now say that in this day and age, journalists spin and lie for political gain. We're nothing but tools and our primary objective for society is lost in the cesspool of corruption and materialism. But I don't believe so. As long as society still believes in the truth. As long as we strive to learn, to be better informed - Journalism will never cease its usefulness and its strength to influence and make the World a better place.

So for those of you who only attest Journalism to be nothing but just a flex of articulate writing skills that amount to nothing, I say: eat your words.

photo credits to Library of Congress

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