- 2020 hasn’t been a good year for entering journalism, but even what many consider to be the flagship event of the year – President Joe Biden’s win – I worry about where the journalism industry is headed. ‘dol.
- Media figures across the board sighed in relief when Biden won, revealing a position related to the incoming administration.
- This reaction coupled with the recent apparent departures from major media companies as a result of the “illiberal environment” raises concerns about the state of journalism moving forward.
- The industry needs to diversify its workforce to better represent the people it covers, and to allow more diverse and challenging perspectives to stimulate strong debate.
- JH Deakins is a freelance journalist and screenwriter from Los Angeles.
- This is an opinion column. The ideas expressed are the author’s views.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
Going into journalism in 2020 is everything you would expect it to be. From wild calls to freshly made connections, distractions and near-lasting thinking, and a study of work that’s as bare as endless – it’s about a corner of the year from hell more less relief and more of the same. I am broke, unemployed, and the government will not send a check.
For many Americans, the only hopeful thing that happened this year was the victory of President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. But, I found the opposite. This was the culmination of a series of very bizarre events that hampered the road to Biden’s victory. Virtual campaign trail marred by pandemic, racial justice movement, White House in kidneys, and two candidates who cannot share a platform without vision.
Across the board, journalists from outreach centers from legacy news media to native digital blogs sighed in clear, deep relief. To some extent, I understand this. It is a great relief to move from hostile and unclean administration into friendly and brutal service. Being able to do your job without the “Enemy of the People” placed in front of you is a great change.
However, it is that printed and public relief exhibition that inspires the issue at hand: Just because Joe Biden is not Donald Trump does not mean that we, the media, should be less critical of Biden, in fact, we should raise the standards for what we from our next Chief Executive.
Media coverage of Biden’s influence
We cannot allow ‘friendly’ administration its way out of criticism and out of the crossroads of journalism. For me, an administration that will ultimately co – operate with the media has been particularly cautious, and the media response at Election Week has brought little comfort. Election Night and the days that followed passed with a sigh of relief.
On CNN, Van Jones, who was a key figure in their political reporting, cried. On Fox called Donna Brazile, former chair of the DNC and political analyst. NBC’s top foreign journalist Andrea Mitchell commented on ending Biden’s long question about the leadership and the strength it took to get there. The return to normalcy, or “renewal of normal relationships,” as CNN chief journalist Brian Stelter wrote, is exactly what scares me.
These and other examples illustrate the biggest issue: the speech adds to Biden’s myth as – the knight in clear arms here to deliver America from the brunt of Trumpism – but it is clear that this is not true. Anyway, not to 74 million voters and millions who jumped out on the ballot box.
Biden is not Trump, but to preserve our democracy, the media cannot play favor any issue. I saw enough after the election to know that, if we keep the course, journalism goes down a far more dangerous path than any that was raised during the Trump occupation. The fourth estate has to correct itself.
How journalism can fix itself
First and foremost, inclusion is crucial to that correction. Most journalists are white men and most journalists at the highest levels are ivy-leaguers. The news industry still looks more like a congressional caucus than the public it serves. I am white and I understand the importance of inclusion; I am a middle class graduate of a public university and I understand the importance of fair shaking for everyone. Like the democracy it defends, the news must represent an entire country – especially those that have historically been left out – to get a complete picture.
The second course of action that is needed, and perhaps most importantly, is to increase the diversity of perspectives that journalism allows. Enabling public engagement is a major concern for the media when choosing which stories to tell and deciding their views. More than ever, it is vital that the media allow for different views and, where necessary, inspire vigorous debate.
Personally, I have felt this confidence to embrace different perspectives more and more as a young writer trying to break into the closed and closed world of journalism. My most memorable exchange was with an editor when he told me that it could only be reported by a “true expert” – not some amateur who had a few interviews. In complete frustration and anger, I burned the bridge, in so many words.
His ideas stay with me because I think I want to work in journalism, especially in comment writing. The news is changing. Even in the six months since graduating from college, the landscape of his career changed. If the election was a sign of anything, it was a sign of the widening divide between two global perspectives – the 74 million who voted to vote for Trump and the 81 million who voted for Biden.
93% of Republicans get most of their political news from Fox and 95% of Democrats get most of their political news from MSNBC. Those numbers are familiar to Americans, but they are often moved by an apathetic, “Well, that’s just the world we live in.” It’s incomprehensible that this is what public opinion, but not at all. The media must fight for impartiality even in a political situation as tiring and deceptive as ours – good journalism cannot serve ideologies.
The role of the media
Obvious departures from major news companies have sparked conversations about the role of the media in the parallel worlds that Americans are entering. Debates about the nature of journalism and about balancing viewpoints in the newsroom have spread out of the cutting room and into the public eye.
Former New York Times commentator and writer Bari Weiss retired in July. Her retirement letter, which she published online, contained nearly 1,500 words of criticism and contempt for what she described as an “alphabetical environment.” Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of Intercept. post in October over the “same predictable, censorship and ideological homophobia” that is going through the national media, Andrew Sullivan, a former columnist and controversial regular, has announced for New York magazine, that he was leaving the magazine in the same way.
While I often go against all three of these details, I can’t help but notice the larger movement. Different ideologies no longer feel welcome in the mainstream media.
Any scene that is desperately trying to engage in the conversation is valuable and requires a mix of perspectives. As that editor politely reminded me, I am not a “true expert”, but I have something to bring to the table – a different perspective. And all views should be taken in fairness. For example, I write as a 22 – year – old unemployed writer, but as I came to this editor, I think the perspective of an emerging journalist is extremely helpful. to the current course of the future of the media as we know it.
The New York Times may have David Brooks tweet it best after Election Night, “Our job in the media is to capture the truth so that people are not surprised, like last night, like last night. A failure big enough. we are still good at capturing the right half of the country. “
As Biden moves into his administration, the media should be highlighting the process, not the candidate. A successful democratic shift of power is a cause for celebration, no matter how common it may seem. The next four years will be just as important as any.
JH Deakins is a freelance journalist and screenwriter from Los Angeles.