Purpose for Journalism

When people hear that I am a journalism major, they raise their eyebrows and look at me in confusion.

“Journalists don’t make enough money,” they say.

“The media blows everything out of proportion,” they say. “All they cover is the bad stuff.”

Maybe some of that is true, though in school we are taught the Society of Professional Journalism Code of Ethics, specific laws for journalism, and  the responsibility of telling truth (Jesus came to earth with that same responsibly).

The media cover what is happening in the world. And guess what, a lot of it is bad stuff.

It’s puzzling me how often people complain about what is happening in the world, yet they don’t do anything about it. The same people who I attend Bible studies with will rant endlessly about the presidential election, immigrants and same-gender bathrooms, but how often have they prayed about it?
How often have they shared a meal with someone of different religious beliefs or sexual orientation?
How often have they listened, shown empathy or loved them?
How often have they practiced the same norm-breaking practices Jesus did with the “least of these”?

I’m not trying to accuse, I am just wondering.

I am wondering why people assume the media as an ugly, lying ogre who only expresses negative news. Why can I not simply be a speaker and writer of truth?

I am wondering why people swallow what is fed to them in the news, but never digest it. Why can people not participate in the events of the world rather than only speak of them?

I am wondering why, at the crowded Christian music festival I recently attended, thousands people sang praise, shouted amen, and raised their arms for hours during the music but left the outdoor venue flooded with paper cups and empty plastic water bottles, leaving tedious work for much fewer individuals who organized the concert for them.

I am wondering how many of those individuals practice following Jesus on a daily basis.
I am wondering how many people use the gifts given to them to make a difference.
I am wondering how many people read this, and how many of those people react by taking action to make a difference in the lives of others.

I am a journalist, and my job is to use my writing and communication skills to tell the truth — good or bad — about what is happening in the world, and both are to be reacted to for a positive purpose.

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