Commentary

Why Most Journalists Would Do It All Over Again -- And Why They're Concerned About Our Future

When people ask me if their child should pursue a career in journalism, I always say, “They should if it’s something they love and are passionate about.” In other words, I give the same answer anyone would give to aspiring young pros in any industry. The funny thing is my advice hasn’t changed in more than four decades both working in – and covering – media.

I may have entered journalism when it was still in its post-Watergate glory days, but it’s always been a tough business, and generally one that has garnered low esteem from society at large, even though it plays an important role.

The big game-changer of course, has been the disruptive nature of technological change, and the fact that digital media diluted much of the value of original enterprise journalism, while at the same time, requiring that professional journalists compete with anyone who wanted to say anything to anyone they could attract to follow them.

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This is not news, of course. Or a particularly insightful Red, White & Blog column. What is is that the Pew Research Center today released a first-of-its-kind study surveying American journalists on their own views about their business. What it found was, that while journalism is in “turmoil” (actually, I would call it crisis mode), most of remain passionately committed to their jobs.

In fact, 77% said that if they had it to do all over again, they would still pursue a career in journalism, while 75% said they are “proud” of the work they do.

The Pew research is based on a survey of nearly 12,000 U.S. journalists conducted earlier this year, and the most telling part of the report might be a part in which Pew correlates it with the opinions U.S. consumers have about journalists and journalism.

Overall, average Americans are much more cynical about the ability of journalists to cover news events accurately. And while Pew did not study this – and does not seem to have any benchmarks for it – I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the cynicism has something to do with the way public figures (you know, all the way up to the last resident of the Oval Office), bash the integrity of journalists, going so far as to call them “the enemy of the people.”

Say what you want about journalists, I can tell you firsthand that most of them don’t do it for the money. Or the social esteem. They do it because they think it’s important.

There are other interesting factoids contained in the Pew study, but another telling one helps explain why many journalists believe their role is so important.

It’s the fact that journalists are nearly twice as concerned as average Americans about the public’s ability to consume objective, unbiased political content, due to the fragmentation and polarization of news outlets.

I would include myself among them, and personally believe it is the No. 1 threat to society overall. Not just in term of politics, who we elect, what legislation and policies we support, but how we think about ourselves as a society. Especially whether we want it to be a democratic one. Or one that is not so much.

3 comments about "Why Most Journalists Would Do It All Over Again -- And Why They're Concerned About Our Future".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 14, 2022 at 12:46 p.m.

    Just a reminder Joe, when Biden calls a journalist a "stupid son of a bitch" on an open mic, he's part of the problem too, but you have this uncanny habit of just making any problems in the media about Trump.


    If journalists are concerned, it's only because they're concerned about their jobs as many of them lose credibility on a consistent basis.  If they really cared about journalism, they would present unbiased stories and cover all stories, regardless of party affiliation, objectively.


    When people turn to Bill Maher and Joe Rogan for critical thinking and a presentation of both sides, that's not anyone's fault other than the journalists themselves.


    Finally, considering how often Mediapost rails on conservative news outlets and throws veiled jabs at republicans, it's hard to take your concern seriously about Americans feeling jaded about the news bias that is fed to them on a daily basis.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, June 14, 2022 at 1:40 p.m.

    @Dan Ciccone: I know a lot of journalists who are stupid. I don't know any legit journalist who is an enemy of the people.

  3. Bode Lang from BOSS, June 19, 2022 at 10:59 p.m.

    REMINDER: The New York Times and Washington Post won Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of a completely fabricated, politically-motivated scandal known as Russian Collusion. Neither outlet has returned their awards nor have they apologized or admitted they lied to the Amreican public to smear a sitting president for years. Their coverage of Jan 6th and the George Floyd riots was just as egregious. The media is a disgraceful, political propaganda factory. The only "journalists" left out there work for Project Veritas. 

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