News gets harder to trust


Is it time to give up on news?

Journalism has been taking some hard hits recently. As IÕm writing this article, the New York Times website is still down, from whatÕs believed to be a hack job by the Syrian Electronic Army.

Earlier this month, David Miranda, partner of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, was illegally detained in LondonÕs Heathrow airport for nine hours by the British government.

Following that incident, it was released that under extreme legal pressure by the British government, The Guardian destroyed the hard drives of the computers containing the documents Edward Snowden had entrusted to Greenwald.

How can we maintain journalistic integrity in a society that prospers on the deliberate withholding of vast quantities of information in the name of security?

WeÕve reached a point where an individual attempting to share factual information for the good of the public is in custody under a charge of potential terrorism.

Terrorism is a blanket threat that allows those with power to terrorize those with the potential to uncover them.

I canÕt help but think that out of all the times to have dependable reporting and news, now is the time of upmost importance.

With climate change on the rise, food insecurity globally leading to political protests, social upheaval and economic instability, it seems paramount to have an understanding of the global challenges at hand.

The feasibility of journalistic integrity is challenged by these scare tactics geared toward maintaining innocence.

Paul LewisÕ recent TED talk discussed the difficulties he had faced as a Guardian journalist in writing truthful and accurate stories. Using two examples, he described the untruths he had been fed by police or security officers in matters that were later discovered to be the murders of two innocent men.

In the talk, which I highly recommend watching, Lewis discusses the benefits of tying together traditional, professional journalism with amateur, or ÒcitizenÓ journalism.

This link allowed him to come to truthful conclusions about the two cases, and also provided legitimacy to the citizen journalists whose stories may not have been taken seriously otherwise.

ItÕs important to note that this talk was given in 2011, years before the incidents of late. It is in this light that I must find the talk, no matter how thought provoking and articulate, to be insufficient.

The incentive for accurate and honest journalism stays stagnant while the consequences more and more frequently can equate to capture and interrogation, media silencing, or death.

We have much to fear if the individuals attempting to deliver sensitive, yet important information risk death not only by enemy fire, but also by the governments that claim to promote freedoms of speech and press, as well as by those who openly oppress dissidence.

The amount of apathy I have personally seen from the American public on this issue is unnerving. The extent to which we have been pacified, even in the face of blatant corruption, whether political or corporate, is simply because we have been convinced by some social force that we are powerless.

I encourage my peers to actively promote and search for truthful news and media. Navigating what is real versus what is not has never been more challenging, but this struggle for our generation is the only thing that will restore significance to an inherently valued form of human interaction also known as journalism.