“Journalism is dying,” my professor said, “there’s no use in getting a master’s degree in journalism since you’ll never be able to use it now.”
I nodded, agreeing with him. This past summer, I’d started to feel like the media was incredibly flawed. The truth is, I’d once dreamed of being a journalist, but lately the news just frustrated me. Little did I know that what was about to happen would change all of that.
Back in September, at the beginning of my freshman year of college, the country was nearing the end of a two-year long election season, full of exhausting political rhetoric and campaigning. I was really starting to hate the ‘mainstream’ media just as much as everyone else. The world felt pressurized; bias and unreliable. No longer could I turn on the news without turning it off after a couple of minutes of screaming from CNN commentators. None of it mattered anyway, because Hilary was going to win.
Until she didn’t.
I sat in my dorm on election night, surrounded by my closest friends, and watched as the map turned red. From that moment on, things were different. My college campus changed and so did my career path. Before, I had been struggling with the concept of going to law school. After, I was set on doing something about what I had experienced. This was followed up by the beginning of a political blog and actively attending marches around my city. No longer would I be silent. I also wasn’t the only one that felt this weary. Many of my peers, especially women, were suddenly set on going to law school and running for office. For the first time, I felt my generation catch the political bug.
But young people aren’t the only ones opening their eyes.
Not only has the Trump presidency brought myself and many others into the political realm, but it has also revamped journalism as we know it. In an era of fake news and social media, for a while it looked bleak for the traditional news platforms. People often complained that journalistic ethics were sliding through the cracks all together, and that soon, papers wouldn’t be able to stay afloat. Major networks and newspapers had issues funding themselves. Even massive TV networks like CNN were having problems.
Now the media is thriving.
The Trump administration has forced the media to hold their own feet to the fire. Everything that’s published has to be backed up by indisputable facts and those facts have to have valid sources. It’s not that the news wasn’t that way before, but in an administration where the government is at war with the media, any crack in the system could break it. Complete factuality and reliability of the news has never been so important. The media has become the ultimate weapon of the American public. At times, it seems as if the news is the only thing standing between the Trump administration and blatant unconstitutionalism — even if it’s already been occured.
This is why the attacks on the media are so disturbing. When Trump attacks the media, he’s attacking the only thing keeping him in check. Journalists are the super hero’s fighting the most dangerous beast of our generation, and it’s leading to a new revival of the media with this generations weapons of mass destruction. In an era where a single tweet can make or break an administration, it is up to journalists to keep the government accountable.
The standards that are set during this administration are the journalistic ethics of the next generation. Just like Watergate formed the journalism we know today, small actions within the larger framework of the next few years will lead to something new as well. My faith in America’s journalism has finally been restored, hopefully for good.
For now, all I know is that perhaps Donald has somehow managed to make the American media great again. Maybe my journalism dreams aren’t completely dead after all.