After 23 years of making pronouncements and then changing my mind, I know a little better than to say, “I’ll never be a journalist.” Because I also said, “I’ll never not be a journalist,” and, well, my pizza-slinging uniform begs to differ on that count.
However, as things stand right now, it looks like journalism isn’t my calling. For personal reasons — like my intense need to be loved, my desire to just write building-up pieces and my severe depression — and professional ones — like the fact that I’m actually not the greatest at in-depth reporting and would rather write positive stories anyway — I’m not sure I could be a good journalist.
Or at least, not the journalist I’d want to be; see, I’d want to be an investigative or political reporter, someone who is a watchdog for government and holds powerful people accountable.
But I’m not great at that. So I’m moving on to exploring other communication fields, like running social media or doing PR or just writing novels and slinging pizza on the side.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t think journalism is one of the most important things for the world right now. And it doesn’t mean I won’t fight, tooth, nail and foot-to-the-groin for freedom of the press and for journalistic respect.
In today’s New York Times, Helene Cooper wrote this sentence in her front-page article:
What appeared to rattle people the most about Mr. Trump’s news conference on Thursday were his attacks on members of the news media assembled before him. Several diplomats said they worried that Mr. Trump was trying to discredit a tenet of American democracy — a free press — and in so doing, might embolden despots around the world into further challenges to freedom of the press.
That’s telling. It means it’s not just reporters (or j-school sort-of students) who believe in the importance of the press; literal world leaders are terrified because they’ve seen what happens to democracies when the press is muzzled.
There’s a reason the First Amendment was the first to be amended, you know? Because it’s so vitally important.
I may sound like I’m writing a j-school application essay (which I wrote so many of, you guys…so many) when I say that a free press is fundamental — fundamental, people — to a free country.
It is vital that we have a body of people dedicated to overseeing government’s actions. Just this week we had a beautiful example of what happens when the press does its job. Michael Flynn literally resigned because The Washington Post made it clear that he was lying and it was being covered up, and President T. was no longer able to keep lying.
The work the Post did was absolutely essential. Importantly, it was done in service of the American public — a.k.a., not the work of the “enemy” of the American people, as President T. tried to say the press was.
You know who thinks the press is the enemy? People who have something to hide. You know who can’t be trusted? People who have something to hide.
So yes, I might not be a journalist myself in the future. But my years as a student journalist and my most-of-a master’s degree in the field have done nothing but reinforce in my mind the idea that this is a very important field; a necessary career; a calling for many.
And I’m standing here to say: I support the press. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure it stays free and accessible. Yesterday, that meant financially supporting the New York Times.
I could write hundreds of words on journalism and its value. Instead, here’s a link to support: https://t.co/MuUchfFmNx
— Karis E. Rogerson (@KarisRogerson) February 17, 2017
That link takes you to a donation page that’s a nice, double-edged sword: gives money to the newspaper and provides a young’un with a subscription, so they can stay informed and we can raise up a new generation to value and respect the press.
Most days I can’t give money; so I tweet links and spread the news. I follow journalists and know their names because they deserve that small ounce of respect. And I won’t stand by silently if President T. tries to do anything — anything — to diminish the freedom of the press.
Because it’s so doggone important, guys.