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My Opinion About the Job of a Journalist: Their Job Isn’t What You Think It Is

Although Abby Slutsky does read and occasionally listen to news, she is not apt to do so as often as she used to.

Do not get upset and burn the paper. Reporters are doing exactly the job they should be. Just keep in perspective what that job is.  Special thanks to Jeremy Bishop for his photo from Pexels.

Do not get upset and burn the paper. Reporters are doing exactly the job they should be. Just keep in perspective what that job is. Special thanks to Jeremy Bishop for his photo from Pexels.

Somewhere along the way to our political war, it feels like journalism changed. Forgive me for those of you that are in the field hearing my complaint. However, for anyone else that has concerns about the field, I am happy to say that my younger 23-year-old son set me straight and put me on the path to being more forgiving about it. Perhaps, his viewpoint will give you a more palatable tolerance for the field.

The Misleading Slant of Words

Let’s start with the many ‘weasel word’ articles. Some articles may sound like fact, but they are the author’s opinion and slanted to be biased in one way or another. Look for words like ‘can’, may’, ‘expected’, ‘projected’, ‘believe’, ‘prefer’, feel’, ‘based on my knowledge’, and many other words that share the author’s opinion without touting fact. Sometimes they will use stronger words, but the word ‘opinion’ will be at the top or bottom of the article. (An opinion is just that; you are entitled to it and so is every journalist (or for that matter everyone who posts on social media). Recognize it for what it is and read it or not.

Unfortunately, many readers view articles and mistakenly assume that because it is in print, it is fact. Sadly, that is not the case nor will it ever be. The only thing for certain is that as we write slanted information it is likely to fuel a political war in the United State that will not unite the parties no matter who is in office.

Location Isn’t Just Important in Real Estate

There are all kinds of tricks that the media can use to make one political view look better than another. It is not just the use of weasel words. If, for example, the President or a candidate does something positive, but he is not the candidate of choice, papers can chose to report the item, but bury it on the fourth or fifth page of the publication instead of the front page where it belongs. They can do the same thing if something negative comes out about a candidate they support; bury the negative in a location less likely to be read.

In my opinion (thanks to my son's enlightening statements), it all comes down to money for the network or the paper and attracting readers and viewers. Photo by Abby Slutsky

In my opinion (thanks to my son's enlightening statements), it all comes down to money for the network or the paper and attracting readers and viewers. Photo by Abby Slutsky

My Perspective: Identifying the Real Job of Reporters and Journalists

Anyway as said before, I was disgusted with the media and the biased reporting. My son put it into perspective. I do not read the paper that often any more and my news station will be changing, but I can now forgive biased news coverage. (Which is often slanted no matter which party you prefer.) Here is my conversation and the scenario with my son:

It is early morning. My mother had given me the last newspaper she received before she canceled her subscription. I glanced at it and was disgusted that there was some biased news reporting. In that particular issue, the peace treaty involving Israel and Sudan was buried on the fourth or fifth page of a major Philadelphia newspaper. I put down the paper in frustration and complained to my son that the journalists and reporters were not doing their job.

My son’s reply astounded me. ‘Mom, but they are doing their job.’

‘No, they are not giving us the unbiased facts. They are playing games to make one candidate seem more desireable.’

‘Mom, that is not their job to give unbiased facts,” my son replied. ‘What do you think my job is?’

‘You value start-up companies’, I answered.‘

No, my job is to do what I am told to do. They are doing what they are told to do.’

‘Which is?’, I asked.

‘Their job is to attract viewers, attract advertisers, and make the paper or news station into a money-making machine.’

Sadly, he was right. I can be disgusted by it, but I cannot fault them for biased articles or reports. Journalists and news reporters are doing their jobs, and they are doing it well. They just do not have the jobs of reporting unbiased news that I thought they did.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky

Comments

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on December 01, 2020:

Thanks for reading and sharing your comments.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on December 01, 2020:

This is so true. It's all about revenue now. It's disappointing that some important topics are just barely given a slot and other stupid ones get the front page. Very few journalists that I like anymore.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 30, 2020:

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. So did I, but I don't think that is the case any more.

Readmikenow on November 30, 2020:

This goes against many things I was taught during journalism school many years ago. Many news stories lack balance and don't even make an attempt for others to respond to allegations.

I've always viewed the job of a journalist to gather facts and seek the truth.

Things have certainly changed. I'm sure my old journalism professors are rolling in their graves enough to register a seismic disturbance.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 30, 2020:

Thank you for reading. I wonder which party will be responsible for ending democracy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 30, 2020:

I do not have any subscriptions either.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 30, 2020:

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 30, 2020:

I think you are right.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on November 30, 2020:

What we need is the return of the Fairness Doctrine. It required the airways to give equal time to both sides of an issue. The print media was held to that standard as well. Who ended it? A Republican president.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 30, 2020:

I remember when news reporting was just that, Abby. I suppose they are doing what they are told, so owners of the papers or media companies who have a lot of money are trying to make more money. I am not happy with most news as I would like to say "just the facts please." However, your son is right.

I do not get any newspapers now, and I watch just enough news to try and be somewhat informed. They won't make much money from me. I do not pay attention to any news on a site like Facebook either. If it is going to be an editorial it should say so.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 30, 2020:

I guess it has changed over the years. I was of your opinion and thought (at least 40 years ago) that they were to report the news as it happens and sure there is some bias but they were supposed to try to present both sides of any issue as fairly as possible. Well, the days of Edward R Murrow are gone and been replaced by the money-making machine. No wonder we are so polarized. I wonder what the answer could possibly be. Maybe the public just needs to be re-educated in the facts about the media in general and that would help to make us better informed on where to look for good information.

Blessings,

Denise

Liz Westwood from UK on November 30, 2020:

I saw a headline recently about a COVID vaccination programme starting up on 1st December to get a large number done by Christmas. It isn't happening, but I bet that newspaper sold well a few weeks ago with a positive headline like that.