We Cannot Do Everything

This post comes from a comment posted on my blog from this post.

The comment in question was from “Karen.”

She said:

Go Red Sox!

And other than to give you a big thumbs up for including that pic in this post, I’m curious to know your thoughts as a journalist on the goal of news reporters to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted”? You seem to believe it’s merely to “report the news and keep people informed.”

I gave my response a lot of thought. I was a bit surprised by her question and you’ll see why in my reply back.

I said:

Hey,

And with the Yankees getting older, I don’t think the sox will be in last place again…. (knock on wood)

On the quote from Finley Peter Dunne, a humorist, I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about my responsibility in that way. Feature stories are a great tool we have to do that, but it’s not something, at least I feel, journalists look to do on a continual basis.

I point you here (http://www.poynter.org/archived/ask-dr-ink/1298/afflicting-the-afflicted/).

I would never say that any of my stories have that type of power because I don’t think they do, human interest features or not.

That’s a really good question, but one that has never been brought up to me in two internships, five years of college and over a year as full-time reporter.

I have said that my responsibility is to report the news and be as accurate as possible. I’ve probably said that on this blog hundreds of times. I’ve never once thought about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

As I said in my post, I’ve never heard those words said in college, or my professional career. Isn’t reporting the news and being a watchgdog the whole point of journalism?

I’ve thought about that comment for a little bit and I’m still not sure how to really address it.

I have found another post from Poynter (via 2002), but I’m not satisfied. Is this debate really going on now? I haven’t seen the mention of it online or, as I said earlier, in my short career thus far. Even Google has few answers on this.

If my stories can do that for someone, that’s great, but that’s not my goal with being a reporter. Should it?

I’m pretty conflicted with this and I’m hoping that some of you will weigh in.

What do you think???

Jonathan

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2 Responses to We Cannot Do Everything

  1. Pingback: People Will Get Mad At You | Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: Better Interviewing | Just Starting Out

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