When I was younger, I wanted to be a reporter. Originally, I wanted to be a sportswriter, but I didn't follow through with the education I would have needed. I think that means it was just a daydream on my part, because I was looking for an excuse to go watch a lot of baseball games, and that might be why I didn't follow through.
But, I also thought about becoming a reporter because I thought the work done by journalists was important. Getting messages through to people mattered. Helping others to understand the world around them seemed to me to be what good journalists did. I had a very idealistic perspective on the work they did. And, I also saw it as a way to talk about politics, which I was very interested in.
I was not aware of the degree of control networks had over what was reported on the evening news. I had never thought of news editors who would not allow stories to go forward because someone might not want the information to be released. I thought every story would be fact checked, and accurate. I was very naive, I guess.
I grew up in the time before the internet. CNN was just getting started when I was in high school. Twenty four hour news cycles had an effect on everything, and made news of things that might not have otherwise been important. Baby Jessica in the well comes to mind when I think of news at that time. Also, the timing of the release of hostages in Iran as Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as president is another event that seemed too orchestrated for news cameras.
The speed that news is delivered now is nearly blinding. And it isn't always as accurate as it should be. The networks can't keep up with the local college student with a cell phone taking videos now. The amount of footage available, and the amount of misinformation available are beyond anything I could have imagined. From Ferguson to Paris, and all points around the world, the instant train wreck that news is now is something I couldn't have dreamed of. And it is sad.
While it can help keep oppressive governments honest, it also makes celebrities out of people who shouldn't be. And it makes people like me doubt if there is enough integrity in what is being reported any more. Then again, someone needs to help keep people informed. We really do need to know what is going on. But, I am not sure we really are being as informed as we should be. It seems the responsibility falls on the viewer or reader to fact check anything we see and hear in any form of media. Just my opinion.