Journalists must work harder than ever

Journalists must work harder than ever

Journalists must work harder than ever
November 09
18:40 2016

For the next four years, journalists need to work harder than ever to preserve the power of the press. The president-elect has challenged that power on too many occasions.

This January, after submitting a few entertainment pieces, I joined the North Texas Daily as a columnist, having the rare opportunity to express opinionated views in a weekly university paper.

Aside from working alongside brilliant student journalists, I’ve been able to write about a number of important issues – such as UNT’s student living policies, the status of marijuana legalization in Texas and the “mumble rap” phenomenon. And expectedly, I’ve made friends, lost some and argued with plenty of trolls during this period of time.

In January, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next U.S. president. This is also a notable feat for a lot of reasons, including a lack of political experience, previous assertions to grab women by their genitals and his racially exclusive rhetoric. In Trump’s world, he’s expectedly garnered voters, disaffected others and smeared established politicians with little remorse.

Keep in mind that he’ll be the first president ever with a Comedy Central Roast, and judging by how close his popular votes came to beating Hillary yesterday, 47.5 percent of voters preferred a potential endangerment to our foreign policy over a former secretary of state – according to NPR. Fortunately for them, he can control the military soon.

As for journalists, Trump accused the media of having a bias against him multiple times during his campaign. He slandered reporters of the New York Times last month, asserting in North Carolina how “they’re not journalists, they’re corporate lobbyists for Hillary Clinton.”

The insults stemmed from reporters everywhere sharing his “grab her by the p—y” video. In West Palm Beach, Florida last month, he told voters, “These [sexual assault] claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction and they’re outright lies. These events never happened.”

For the entirety of October, Trump practically waged a truth war on the media, fueling distrust from his most ardent supporters.

Now that he’s the president-elect, news people have larger responsibilities to uphold the press’s freedom and keep the American populace informed.

Professional journalists have it hard enough as it is, with the gradual decline of not just newsprint, but newspaper employment in general. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation went from about 458,000 employed journalists in June 1990 to nearly 183,000 employed journalists in March 2016. This is a nearly 60 percent decline in news work over the course of 26 years.

Although internet and broadcasting rose from about 30,000 to 198,000 employees in the same period, the convenience of online publishing isn’t enough to sustain talented workers in the media.

Last night reaffirmed that for me during the painstaking task of covering the election for UNT. It marked the first time I led reporters, rather than columnists, to polls and watch parties in order to circulate news throughout the day.

Ever since Trump’s electoral win was revealed, this entire election has rekindled a fire among Daily staffers and Mayborn students to embody the first amendment in all of our work.

Despite how often Trump will defame media outlets, or how insincere other politicians will continue to be, this election has been one big incentive for all journalists to step up. Even if our starting points are university papers.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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2 Comments

  1. Old woman
    Old woman November 10, 09:01

    Really???? Journalist picking sides? Your job is to report and you’ve all done America a great disservice by not being able to do your jobs well. Why do you think you were so surprised by the outcome of this election? It’s because you print what you want to see and expect your reality to match everyone else’s. It doesn’t.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Not an old woman
    Not an old woman November 11, 08:53

    This is an editorial column, therefore Preston can express his opinions here. That’s standard practice since editorial columns started. Keep up the good work, Preston. I know many of us will fight to keep our rights, what little we may have at this point. We stand with you.

    Reply to this comment

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