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In defence of journalism

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I rarely write ‘serious’ posts on social media. I much prefer to keep it light and fluffy as there are already more than enough angry voices clamouring to be heard.

However, I feel reluctantly compelled to mount a defence of journalism - the profession to which I’ve dedicated my life for 26 years - in the face of daily attacks.

I fully understand many people dislike what they see as ‘the media’, although you often find their views are based on one bad experience or reading a story with which they disagree.

As such, I have long stopped trying to convince them otherwise. I’d have as much joy doing so as I would getting them to share my conviction that Fulham will win the Premier League.

What I struggle to let slide is the suggestion that all journalists are part of some lying, global conspiracy. These claims have intensified with the recent protests against coronavirus restrictions.

Maybe I’m just being oversensitive but I’ve always been passionate about my choice of career and desperate to make a positive difference, so I can’t help but take it personally.

Even close friends have posted that ‘mainstream media’ is being controlled by the Government and that the entire industry is working to a pre-agreed narrative.

Quite what the newspapers get out of it this arrangement is unclear, particularly given the fact that Covid-19 has caused so many of them to go out of business, but I digress.

The popular view is that large, established newspapers and broadcasters can’t be trusted, whereas obscure websites and homemade memes tell the ‘real’ story. Sigh.

Backing up their insistence that journalists blindly follow whatever the Government tells them to do is the assertion there’s been ‘no media coverage’ of whatever story they’re trying to highlight.

In the vast majority of cases this is untrue. A quick Google search usually reveals the story has been covered in depth. 

By the time this is pointed out, however, it’s too late. Everyone has moved on, convinced ‘the media’ has failed yet again.

While the current view is that journalists are spoon-fed what to write, it wasn’t long ago they were attacked for taking a hard line with Government ministers at the daily press conferences.

So which one is it? Are they asking too many questions or not enough? It’s hard to keep up.

I have written for national tabloids and broadsheets, left wing papers, right wing papers, and pretty much everything in between. 

My byline has appeared in papers such as The Guardian, Daily Express, Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and The Independent. I’m not bragging, I’ve just been around a long time.

My point is that If I was supposed to follow a line dictated by a higher power then I must have missed the memo. In my experience, a newsworthy story will always find a home.

In much the same vein, most journalists I’ve encountered have only been interested in uncovering the truth.

They do as much digging as possible and speak to numerous sources, while constantly being at the mercy of deadlines and people pushing their own agendas.

Now, I’m not saying journalism is perfect. Far from it. You only have to look at The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster to see how newspapers can get it spectacularly wrong.

However most of us – and I truly believe it’s the overwhelming majority – are simply trying to provide accurate, balanced information in an accessible way.

Of course, I’m fully aware that people will read this and still be convinced I’m an undercover operative controlled by the ‘Deep State’ but at least I’ve tried to give an alternative view.

 

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