Journalism in Todays World

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Journalism in Todays World

Written by Paul Saerns

I was always the curious, inquisitive type that like to watch and observe important events and record them for my amusement. I like putting things in order and since sometimes I found myself in trouble with my parents I’d give them everything as I saw it so they could never put the blame on me no matter how hard they wanted to.

That attention to detail and patient observation lead me to a life in the arts. It’s fun and I get to decipher all sorts of strange things like the meaning behind the contours on a Picasso to the subtle and not so subtle references to dirty deeds done cheap in all genres of music. It’s fun and engaging most of the time and especially if I can do it while travelling off to some far off land to learn and study but I’m not some progeny of some CEO of some major company. My Mum and Dad are both blue-collar and basically that means I don’t have all that much actual money to spare.

I could probably make a stint into academia with the kind of studies and knowledge that I have but I’m no good there since I don’t have any diplomas or relative credentials to even be considered for a teaching position at a high school, let alone my dreams of teaching arts to college students. I do have a set of skills that I’m almost certain can serve me well in virtually any field however, analytical eyes, quick thinking, and a firm grasp of the English language. Now where can I go where these will come into play a lot?

I decided then and there to go look for a program that could help me. Call me old-fashioned but if it weren’t for one of my long time childhood friends pointing me to this online place where I could study, I’d probably have nothing to go on right about now.

So anyway here I was confronted with a bunch of courses that I think I could join and get my life going somewhere. Most of them were things like marketing and so on which I wasn’t too keen on, then I spotted something; Journalism huh? Hmm… it’s in the price range and I’d imagine my skillset would be useful here. Alright then, let’s do it.

First day was a bit of an overview; what journalism was, a brief history on it, the vital role it has served in the last hundred plus years, how technology has influenced it, and sadly how this supposedly incorruptible bastion of knowledge and supposed carrier of truth has faltered many times in the past and continues to do so to this very day. The trainer was extremely melancholic about this whole affair but defiantly suggested that we use these very faults to further our convictions of getting things right the first time and serving our true purpose as purveyors of truth and justice for our fellow man and woman.

One of the things I thoroughly expected out of this was a course on how to write a news article down and how to present it in different formats for different occasions. They mostly stuck to the tried and true method of sticking with the facts and filling up the holes with details, but sometimes different kinds of emphasis would need to be made for us to present our news in whatever manner was most appropriate. I’m an experienced writer and have in fact written for some editorials in the past. The word limits and restraints were a bit of a pain to work with a t first but it’s a challenge to my creativity which I always welcome.

What I didn’t expect though was that the program would teach you how to use all this new technology to make and present your reports. I mean I could manage with just a word processor program like Office but no they’re going for the full package with multimedia stuff like video editing software and photo management and editing stuff too. I wasn’t expecting to expand into this territory but I am most certainly not going to complain, as these will probably be useful even beyond the bounds of journalistic work.

The one thing that was drilled into our heads above all else was integrity. Of ethics and of how we were supposed to present the truth no matter how much it would hurt us or the world at large. The trainer kept telling us it was for the better and that the more these truths were hidden the worse it would get; so better they be told now than left to fester and grow into something ugly that could consume us all. They also taught us to never compromise ourselves for the sake of a bigger pay check, saying that it was a few extra bucks in our pockets versus the world; stakes too high to gamble.

I finished that program about a month or so later. I forget. Anyway, the certification netted me a job at a local news agency and I was out in the field within the week. I’d find pretty regular stuff like accidents or weird circumstances, but I soon tapped into something that had been plaguing the community for a while now that apparently never got addressed. It was a leaky pipe that kept spewing really brackish water into a local body of water.

I did some investigation and with a little help from the locals and the local government we managed to track the source down to a poorly run butcher shop that was using the pipe to deliver rancid runoff into the lake; figuring it wouldn’t do any harm. Sadly it did and it would cost the owners of the shop a princely sum and closure of the place for noncompliance, but I managed to make a difference in the community by saving the pond where adults and kids congregated around during the weekend. All of that because of my skills and an investment in a journalism course.

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