How real journalism should and does work

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-In-Chief

I am a senior multimedia student. This means that I have spent my time here at Point Park learning about journalism, news reporting, photography, graphic design, social media, public relations and more aspects of the communications field. I have been a member of The Globe since I was a freshman, starting as a copy editor and staff writer and moving to news editor, Editor-Elect and now Editor-In-Chief. 

I have written fun, light-hearted pieces, reviewing some of my favorite movies and TV shows and ranking vending machine snacks. I have learned that in this way, journalism can be fun and uplifting. 

But I have also covered hard news, like tuition increases, lawsuits and President Hennigan’s retirement. This side of journalism and reporting isn’t always so fun or uplifting. It can be stressful and sometimes depressing. But this is the kind of journalism I love. 

Journalism is about finding and reporting the story you didn’t expect to find. It’s about listening closely when people talk, pursuing leads with persistency, leaving no stone unturned. 

Real journalists, like my staff at The Globe, do not begin every week expecting challenging things to happen. When I woke up two Mondays ago and checked my email, I did not expect to see an email from the Board of Trustees announcing President Hennigan’s retirement. I do not look for scandal where I do not know or suspect it exists. 

However, it has become a trend within certain organizations that claim to report on news to enter their reporting with a mission or a goal to “expose” people or “expose” what they believe is injustice. And to clarify, wanting to expose injustice via reporting is noble. But the problem lies in the approach. 

A reporter should be hungry and alert, ready to sniff out injustice where it does exist, but never entering a situation hoping to find any. When a reporter launches an investigation with the purpose of finding injustice, they run the risk of fabricating a problem where one does not exist. 

For example, if I began a week of reporting for The Globe looking for a scandal to expose, I might target a specific administrator and observe them closely, and then report on their day-to-day work life, all the while drawing false connections and conclusions that make them seem shady when in reality, they’re just doing their job. If I enter my reporting with the purpose of exposing someone, I will unavoidably insert my own bias into the story and will manipulate evidence to satisfy my desires. This is self-indulgent. And it’s not real journalism. 

I have also noticed that certain organizations have decided to label themselves with the political affiliation that they most align with. 

I want to be clear in the fact that completely unbiased reporting does not exist. Every single journalist is a human being before they are a journalist. It is impossible for human beings to completely remove their life experiences and their points of view from their creative works, and yes, while news reporting is the conveying of facts, the creation of an article requires creative wordsmithing. 

But for an entire organization to adhere to one set of political values is dangerous, and it calls into question whether that organization produces real works of journalism and employs real journalists. While journalists cannot remove themselves from their own perspective, we must try to be fair and balanced in our approach and to report on news in a way that is accessible and comprehensible to everyone, regardless of political affiliation. 

When a “news” organization labels itself one way or the other, it sends a message. And that message is, “we only care about one type of person.” And since journalism is a public service, this message flies in the face of the very definition of the craft. 

But perhaps real journalism was never even the goal. I can only speculate.