It is becoming increasingly important to separate the mainstream media from hard-working journalists. I have utter contempt for the former and great admiration for the latter. In fact, I have a deep and abiding love for one of the latter: Our younger daughter Sarah happens to be the Night Side reporter for ABC 27 in Harrisburg, PA. It’s not just a father’s pride that makes me say she is hard-working. More than once she has called to ask about using the exact right word. She has shed tears over the tragedies, large and small, that she has had to cover. She endeavors to get the story right, rather than angling to get the “right” story. In covering certain political rallies, however, she has had to endure the wrath of the crowd that sees her as simply another member of the media.
I see her and her friends and her colleagues at small and mid-market stations everywhere as the saviors of journalism because they are setting the proper example for the media “stars.” The real journalists in this country still follow the facts wherever they lead, and they doubt every story and every source until the story and the source are verified. That is a quality not only lacking in the national news, it is no longer even a value. If members of the profession such as Sarah don’t save journalism, it won’t be saved.
There is nothing glamorous about covering the local school board meeting, or lugging around your camera when it’s 98 degrees only to have your shot ruined by a truck roaring past, or interviewing a surly person who doesn’t want to talk. Or having all that happen in one story and still have it written and edited for the 11 o’clock edition. It’s important for the rest of us to remember that when it’s done right it’s a dirty job. To you highly-paid blowhards on national television who think you are the story, pay attention to your local field reporters and learn how journalism is done correctly.