The Challenge of Journalism Today

WE cannot deny the very important and crucial role journalism plays in our life. It is supposed to bring us relevant pieces of news and information daily or in some regular fashion.

Journalism exerts tremendous influence in forming and shaping public opinion which is always a very dynamic thing, marked by many different and even conflicting views. It definitely is a necessity in any given society, let alone, the whole world. That is why it has to be practiced with a lot of care and sensitivity.

Given its fast-moving and delicate character, it behooves everyone engaged in it to really find the proper spirit that should animate his journalism. It should not just be at the mercy of first impressions, knee-jerk reactions, off-the-cuff comments or shooting from the hips. It requires a lot of study and research.

Neither should journalism be at the mercy of mere common sense and the possession of some so-called facts and data. These things, while having their legitimate value, can hardly capture the whole or global significance of any event that journalism is supposed to report on.

Facts and data need to be carefully verified. And more than that, they need to have the motives, reason, if not the spirit behind them probed thoroughly. Just citing facts and data is not a standard of objectivity, and much less, of fairness. A lot more than merely presenting them is required.

We need to realize that facts and data are not purely inert things that would simply tell us the whole truth. They spring from our human condition that would necessarily involve spiritual and even supernatural realities. Thus, they depend also on how we select them, how we present them, how we understand them, etc. Given this condition, facts and data can indeed come up with a great variety of consequences. And neither should journalism be inspired merely by some ideological mindset. Again, ideologies can offer some help in analyzing and explaining certain events. But they do not and cannot capture the whole significance of the things reported.

Sad to say, because of this ideological flavoring of today’s journalism, we end up very divided and confused, as people become too partisan, biased and with deep prejudices. News items and commentaries can give out completely different and contradicting reports and views.

As a result, we are now fragmented into liberals or conservatives, progressives or traditional, capitalist, socialist or communist, etc. We do not anymore would know which is right. And this, of course, is no good news for all of us!

There is now a crying need for everyone engaged in journalism to return to God, to have a good, healthy relation with God, for only then can journalism be in its best condition. It’s amazing that this fundamental requirement for journalism, as in any other human endeavor, is often flouted by so-called professional and veteran journalists.

With God as the beginning and end of journalism, one would know how to be a good journalist, having a clear understanding of what his contribution to the common good is, what means, resources and possibilities he can make use of, as well as the limitations he has to contend with.

He would present things with great tact and delicacy. He would avoid absolutizing what only has a relative value, dogmatizing what only is an opinion, etc. In the end, he should do journalism such that God is brought to the people in the different issues of the times.