As a journalism student, I’m often told by people outside of the communications industry that I’m studying a field that’s dying and has few opportunities for employment. It’s true that in the last decade newsrooms have slimmed down and physical newspaper subscriptions have declined, but that in no way suggests that the art or need for journalism is dying. If anything, journalism has become more exciting because of savvy bloggers who question the policies and problems around them and actively dig to find the truth.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo and is one example of how blogging has lead to news media coverage of political scandals that would have easily been dismissed by readers of a traditional newspaper. With collaboration from his team and the general public, Talking Points Memo was able to break the story regarding politically motivated dismissals of United States attorneys, which was later picked up by mainstream media. Without Marshall’s diligence and question, it’s possible that reports like this would never be seen by the public eye.
This type of investigative story would have been given to a singular traditional journalist and would have taken multiple days to dissect and gather information. TPM, on the other hand, had help analyzing the material by passion-driven readers. This made it easier and faster to break the story as compared to a traditional news outlet.
I’m not discrediting traditional journalists. I think that almost everyone who has wanted to pursue a career in journalism has imagined themselves receiving a Pulitzer Prize for that front page story or racing from editor to a computer to finish a story on deadline. But with that said, blogs are the ideal format that encourages an immediate release which my generation and what I suppose the future will thrive on. Blogging allows for journalists to truly give a voice to the voiceless and receive feedback from readers right away.
So, do I regret my decision of studying journalism? Not at all. If anything, this “death wish” only makes me more inspired to prove those individuals wrong.