Musings

Opinion VS Fact & the Death of Journalism

It’s one thing to express one’s opinion…and it’s another thing to downright insult somebody, by accident or unintentionally, right?

Today this has come up for me in life. It all began with a college newspaper article about a group in my town that sells $5 homemade, cooked meals. They have a food distribution center, which is also a spiritual center, and they distribute plates of food to hungry college students on-campus, and anyone else interested.

So, when I saw a college student unfavorable Opinon article about this organization, I got upset.

Yes, we’re entitled to our opinions. Yes, we can bash and whine all we want – look at Trump, look at Hillary, all they seem to do at these debates is bash each other, right? But when we look at Trump and Hillary, or at least when I see these debates, I reflect that if each of them could be so mature as to express their differing opinion in a calmer way, then it would be easier for us to take them seriously. We would appreciate what they had to say more, and actually gain some benefit. We’d get a real conversation and real thoughts going.

I feel similarly about the article I read today. The article’s author took the opinion of one professor, whom she quoted saying less-than-pleasant things about this charitable organization. Meanwhile, she did not ask the organization their thoughts or their philosophy. She did not ask other students, other professors, or anyone else in town.

So why should I read the stuff, if it’s just a long-winded insult, basically? How does this benefit the author or any of her readers? Isn’t a piece of writing supposed to mean something? (Shouldn’t a presidential debate get somewhere?)

On a sort of side topic, I’d like to express that I am quite disappointed with how journalism is going down the tubes these days. They say this field is dying, because old-fashioned journalism with pen, paper, and reporters on-site is being replaced by bloggers, social media, photographers, etc.

The death of journalism is a sad thing. I hope that libraries will not die, too. We writers need our libraries!

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Anyway, aside from that sad fact, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of quality in online, or modern, journalism. I see a lot of one-sided articles that frame opinion as fact, like the college newspaper one I mentioned. I see a lot of typos, sentences missing entire words or phrases, and immaturity in the author’s responses to his/her article’s comments. Writers aren’t taught how to give and receive constructive criticism these days.

Unfortunately, I think, Internet talk is so free, and online articles so very multitudinous, that quality is inevitably going to suffer.

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For those of us who do see the quality of online journalism fading, let’s try to make a difference. They say we can only change ourselves. I challenge you to spellcheck and grammar-proof your articles – blogs, opinion columns, any of it! – more before sending them out or hitting “publish”. Why?

Because, words are powerful. They carry a lot of meaning. If we don’t propagate the responsible and meaningful use of words, then one day the whole world will be texting/saying things like:

hay, wazup

That doesn’t really communicate love, does it? It’s rather dull, and short, and does not show the same time and care that a

“Hey, how are you today, dear?”

does. Am I right? Even in text without any voice for us to hear, that second sentence communicates more genuine feeling than the first “text” message does.

Anyway, whether you agree with me or not, please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Until next time,

Chaitanya

 

 

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