Today's Mainstream Journalism
News critics should lead public to alternative news sources
September 2, 2004 9:47 PM
These days, students walk around the SF State campus with a plethora of burning questions on their minds. Did the Giants win last night? What is John Kerry’s stance on healthcare? Will one more little packet of Equal really give me cancer later on in life?
While these questions may get answered in different ways, it is safe to say that a majority of that information trickled down at one point or another from some part of the mass media, an entity whose main purpose is to keep the public informed on issues and events happening across the world.
Lately, there seems to be a lot of criticism of the institution that’s so handy.
The story reported on a group of Sonoma State University media researchers called Project Censor. Every year they chastise the corporate media for giving minimal coverage to a variety of news stories that could have fought for good press play and at the same time could have just as well found itself in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
All these pot shots beg the question: is journalism all that bad today?
It is only too true that some of the negative aspects of journalism ring painfully loud. Everybody and everything does not always get equal or any media coverage. American journalism can do better, should be more objective and should have a longer reach.
Furthermore, big-money corporations that really do have influence over what may or may not run in the publication typically own mainstream publications.
But beyond such verities, should cynicism rule within the minds of those who want good news?
There are so many factors that lead to what gets published, but one of the most important and often over-looked point is that frequently, the general public themselves decide what goes in the lead story slot. Why should the San Francisco Chronicle lead with a yawner like the impacts of Presidio privatization when the public wants to hear actual conversations between Scott Peterson and Amber Frey?
The media are much broader than American corporate journalism; mainstream press is only one facet.
It’s when one digs a little deeper that good news is discovered.
With technology making the entire mass media system so accessible, why don’t critics spend less time censuring Fox News and the New York Times and more time trying to compel students towards other, more informative journalism sources?
If people really want to find good, comprehensive news of candidate platforms, general politics, local issues and even sports, they themselves will have to take initiative and work beyond what the mainstream press offers. It should be up to the harshest critics, readers, to lead the charge.
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