The importance of journalism should not be overlooked in the digital age

Kaanchee Gandhi, Editor-in-Chief

In the 21st century, journalism is considered a useless major, one that has become obsolete with the dying newspaper. According to The American Society of News Editors there was a 6.4 percent decline in newspaper jobs from the year before. Researchers wonder if journalism will still be a profession in 20 years. Ranked the worst job in 2013 out of 200 by CareerCast, this is a valid muse.

It is no question that the way people receive their news is changing. The decline in newspaper readership can be seen in diminishing  ad revenue which has decreased from its highest in 2005 of $49,435 to $22,314 in 2013 according to an annual report by The State of the News Media. These numbers account for printed as well as online newspapers which are experiencing a decline as well.

When newspapers first became available for free online, people wondered why they should pay for printed news when they could read it for nothing. The mindset began to shift even more drastically when people wondered why they should spend time reading lengthy articles if they could get all of their coverage from tweets and short blog posts. Overall, the importance of journalism has expired in the eyes of the public. Although this change in mindset is understandable in a world where people require their information given to them in the quickest way possible, it has belittled the cruciality of quality journalism.

In today’s job market, individuals with experience in web building and online design are hired over reporters by news companies in an attempt to bring more traffic to websites. As a result, the Internet is filled with countless news articles online with no visible structure. Just as most journalists would not be able to build a website, most web designers cannot build a news story.

Coverage may still exist in a world without journalists, but the reliability of their information would be never be at the same level as a reporter who went to school for four years. Lengthy indepth articles on significant news events have been replaced with 140 character, quirky tweets by “news reporters.” With photographers leaving the newspaper profession as well, photojournalism has been reduced to iPhone quality photos and seven word captions. Only the news that people wanted to read and hear would be reported on without a set standard for coverage.

In addition to vital news stories, the voices of people would go unheard as well without journalists seeking out interviews. A journalist’s job today is not only to uncover news and report it as accurately as possible, but to be the voice of the people. There are many passionate people who care deeply about issues but are afraid to speak up about them. Newspapers’ interviews with them provide an outlet for their concerns or praise.

With no respect for the profession and diminishing job positions, no one can blame journalists for leaving the occupation. The United States is currently in great danger of losing an incredibly critical factor that makes us a great nation.  America fought valiantly for the freedom of the press, and to throw away this victory as an obsolete profession is detrimental to our success as a country.

The news industry needs to develop some strategy for people to fund the media or this may be the decade the country sees journalism wipe off the map as a profession. The newspaper may be dying, but journalism will always be needed.