We now live in an age where internet access is widely available and everyone seems to have something to say. With the internet providing a medium for every man woman and child to post a picture of their morning cereal, complain about the state of their local city’s transport system and or even upload video of petty brawl in the street. This is the age of free flowing information, everything and anything seems to be available and on demand on the world wide web. The pen and paper of a journalist’s hastily scribbled notes have become 140 character limited tweets broadcast across the world at the click of a button. With this technology available to the masses, is the role of the journalist really still relevant?
My name is Sean Stapleton and I am an eighteen year old communications student at Auckland University of Technology. I’m currently taking a paper on the Principles of Journalism, hence this blog. My earliest memory of journalism is back in 2001 on the day of the September 11 attacks. My mother left the television running all day as she did the ironing, while I sat watching footage of the twin towers fall into the ground on repeat as journalists scrambled to make light of what had occurred. To me now, this typifies journalism, a duty to convey unbiased and factual information to the masses, to dispel rumour and investigate that which remains unexplained. As a journalist I want to tell stories, I want to educate and I want to shed light on what the public should know.
When it comes to justifying the continuation of dedicated journalists in an age of free flowing information, it must be remembered that they are not simply just the relayers of news. Journalists are duty bound to hold the seemingly unaccountable to account, uphold an ethical standard to reporting and to bring professionalism to the presentation of the unending stream of information we are subjected to as media consumers. It is the task of journalists to tell the public not just what they want to know, but that which they need to know.