I was 12 years old and in 7th grade when I decided I wanted to be a journalist. Not simply because I wanted to be ‘on TV’, but because I was fascinated by storytelling, by interviewing, by news, by the men and women who shared it every day, and who gave us the information we needed to know. I watched NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20…. anything I could.
In our 7th grade classroom, parents constructed a ‘set’, we were broken down into ‘news teams’ – each team with a day to deliver the news and each team member rotating their role in the newscast: news, sports, weather and ‘special’ stories. I was fascinated by it all.
I grew up to be that journalist. I covered politics and crime, military and immigration, school board debates and the havoc of mother nature. I even tackled the really hard stuff – entertainment. Through it all, my goal was always two-fold: to be truthful and to be to be fair and honorable to both sides.
I will spare you the pictures of me with my anchor-bob haircut, but I will tell you this, some of the displays of ‘journalism’ I have seen in the past 24 hours made me alternately want to burst in to tears or throw something at my television for what I am witnessing of what was once a proud profession.
Few stories in the news have turned my stomach like those I have heard surrounding the rape of a 16 year old girl by two teenage football players from Steubenville, Ohio. As if the crime itself wasn’t horrific enough, the attitudes of those involved – both the boys committing the crimes, taking pictures of the young girl and sharing them via social media, but the number of people who KNEW, SAW IT HAPPENING, HEARD ABOUT IT, or SAW THE PICTURES and yet did nothing is, in itself, beyond baffling. What is happening to teenagers that the line between right and wrong is no longer discernible? What is happening in HOMES that we, as parents, are raising children without a CONSCIENCE?
Fast forward to the trial and subsequent guilty verdict. And the media’s reporting of that guilty verdict. My blood begins to boil anew. I can’t remember a time that I have been so thoroughly disgusted by the media in general.