We Need to Understand the Value of Journalism

By Alexandre Silberman

Want Esteemed Contributor

We all have seen the recent decline of newspapers around the country. Paper after paper laying off journalists, cutting back, or closing its doors entirely. This has always troubled me, but it was not until it hit close to home that I saw what a harmful impact loosing community media could have.

 

I have lived in the great state of Vermont my entire life. As a small state, we only have six daily newspapers. Each of these publications strive to keep us informed and engaged in our communities.

 

On Friday afternoon, the news broke that one of these papers, the Rutland Herald was in serious financial trouble. Being the only major news source in the vast area it serves, losing the Herald would be a real loss to the community.

 

In a small town, local news can spread fast. Journalism is about more than that. It is an opportunity to shape and challenge our minds and perspectives. With in-depth knowledge and exposure to new opinions, we change the way we view the world around us.

 

The Rutland Herald has done just that, winning the only Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a Vermont newspaper for a series of editorials in 2000 about civil unions.

 

At all levels of society, in business, government, small-town or Washington, D.C. we depend on journalists as a society to expose corruption and hold leaders accountable. Watchdog blogs and citizen journalists are not enough, we need to have people paid full-time to do this job. Journalism is an essential part of the system of checks and balances that makes for a democratic society.

 

I worry, that as we further expand into the twenty-first century, our society is gradually forgetting what good journalism really is. Our generation, the future, is increasingly turning to social media and sites like Buzzfeed to stay informed.

 

Why is the need for quality journalism slipping from our minds? Is it our shortening attention spans? This is a question I have no answer to.

 

As the next generation, we cannot sit back and let this happen. We need to take matters into our our hands, and show the older members of society that we do care. Support quality journalism, whether it be local or national by purchasing a subscription. Understand what good journalism is. Teach yourself to be media literate. Take pride in being informed about the world around you.

 

The Rutland Herald is the oldest continuously family-owned newspaper in the United States, published under the same name in the same city. The first edition of the paper rolled off the press in Dec. 8, 1794. I hope I won’t have to read the last one.

Photo Credit: Newspaper Club

 

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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