As journalists, we hold a unique position. We stand upon a moral foundation. Truth and facts are the tenets of our dogma. Journalism, the fourth estate, is needed now more than ever.
So why when our country, our government, our fellow citizens, need us most do we find ourselves in the middle of a terrifying free fall?
Presidential “fake news” branding aside, journalism, specifically community journalism, is seeming to crumble at every turn. Nearly half of the Denver Post’s staff was laid off to squeeze every last drop of profit out of a community daily that covered one of America’s most horrifying mass shootings in such a way that garnered them a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. If a Pulitzer Prize is not enough to earn you job security, then what is?
The situation at the Post is only a microcosm of how the legs are being cut out from under journalism. For an industry whose origins are rooted so heavily in nobility, job security has become a serious and ever-present concern. Major news publications continue to face layoffs of large portions of their staff.
The Coast Report Editorial Board has a sort of special role here at Orange Coast College. Being a student-run paper and a class, our profit margin is less of a concern than our news integrity. In that facet, we triumph.
We, like many journalists at the community level, know our community. Your community. We hold the community accountable, whether it be administration, Coast Community College District officials, Campus Safety, instructors, student government or even just students. We have a vested interest in our community because it is our community, just like yours.
The turbulent state of traditional publications and the steady decline of local alt-weeklies topped off with the public’s lack of media literacy has resulted in a crisis in American journalism.
As ambitious students, we have been told we are brave by the kinder crowd and naive by the more cynical for entering such an unstable field. But to us, we are simply committed to finding and reporting the truth.
It seems a lot of people nowadays rant about making America great again, but we humbly believe that a country’s greatness is dependent upon how informed its electorate is.
We, as journalists, as students, as an editorial board, want nothing more than to extend that same courtesy to our community. To, dare we say it, make OCC greater than what it already is.
So the Coast Report Editorial Board swallows its pride and respectfully asks you to keep picking up your bi-weekly copy of the paper. Keep tuning in to our tweets. Keep scanning our website.
Pick up a daily while you’re at it. Support local newspapers. Read major publications. Fact check. Practice media literacy.
The current state of journalism may appear to be in free fall to many, but as young journalists, our committed mission to seeking and sharing the truth will revive anything that might fall by the wayside.
So long as there’s news, we will be here. Keeping a wary eye out for the truth, no matter what form it takes.