Jordan Green: Journalism is tough work- please support it.
One day last week, I had the honor of working with my good friend Sharon Rowen on a story about how the confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Kay County are impacting a neighboring county in Kansas.
To make the story happen, Sharon and I had our own miniature "press conference" over the phone with a Cowley County Health Department official. It was the first three-person phone call I've ever been on. Apple products for the win: The built-in features of an iPhone make it easy to add other calls in to an existing call. It's hard to know when the other two people on the line are getting ready to speak without being able to see them, but we got the hang of it after a while.
Teamwork like this is a key component of the quality journalism you're reading about this pandemic.
When we journalists publish articles, we make our jobs look easy (hopefully). But in all reality, the average person has no idea about how much work we really put into our stories, even short ones. We've got to research topics, dig up important facts, and then challenge people – especially those in positions of power – to make sure they're holding up their sworn duties to protect you, the general public.
It's a tough job, and not everyone appreciates it.
You might not always like what you read in the "mainstream media," as some say, but that doesn't make it "fake news."
Journalists are human, and we make mistakes. But we do our best to correct them. That's beside the point, though. The fact that we live in an era where accurate information is more widely available than ever before -- combined with the fact that some people refuse to believe accurate information -- is appalling. Then again, it's 2020, and we're having to remind people to wash their hands and cover their coughs.
All of the people crying "fake news" at stories on this important topic seem to lack common sense. Then again, like a wise man once said, common sense ain't common.
The point of reporting on things like the coronavirus is not to make people feel comfortable, or to make people feel like everything will be just fine. Why? Because the facts are the facts, and as it stands, more and more people are getting infected by this virus. The United States now leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases. More and more people are losing their jobs because of it. At last count, more than 3 million have filed for unemployment.
That’s the truth. Sorry.
By no means are we journalists trying to incite panic. We reap what we sow, and when the economy tanks, news outlets suffer, too. Like any bodily organ in society, the press is not immune to this virus. But we're doing our best to fight it -- and that means we are working to arm you with the knowledge you need to protect yourself and others from loss of assets, health, and even life.
Journalism is a tough line of work. But there’s a reason why the right to a free and open press is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. And I thank God we live in a country where that right can be so readily exercised.
But it all falls back on you, the reader. Please, I beg you: Support the press that protects you. We’re here to help. We’re not here to put out “fake news.”
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