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Journalism in U.S.A

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In recent years I have been thinking about television as one of the main sources of alienation, stereotypes, prejudices, and ignorant social practices within the society I live in. In addition, it seems to me that T.V. is one of the primary tools used by big corporations to manipulate people’s decisions when it comes to the consumption of products. Furthermore, even when I watch the news I get the sense that there is too much information, but that it lacks of depth; moreover, it follows a specific agenda that is controlled by the ones in power. Thus, my perspective towards television and its uses and effects has not been very optimistic.

Political Cartoons of Robert Edwards. http://www.europeanaction.com/id15.html

However, when I started reading about the effects that TV news have had in various moments in history, I realized the problem is not television itself but the people who are behind it and control it. Even more, I noticed that even when TV channels depend economically on sponsors, there have been situations in which channels have challenged the status quo by responding to the momentum and to people’s right to not receive incorrect or incomplete information. In addition, I could argue that looking at the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, it is vital for journalists to “give voice to the voiceless”; therefore, I see how this code was extensively applied on events such as McCarthyism and the Civil Rights Movement.

Moreover, I believe that because news channels understood the importance of these events and gave them the required attention, their coverage became more an advocacy journalism than an objective one. To demonstrate, during McCarthyism era, Edward R. Murrow, considered as the “patron saint of the broadcasting profession”, together with Fred Friendly, a young producer, decided to broadcast a program that would show the unfair practices and accusations made by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. Even more, during Murrow’s program See it Now in March 9, 1954, he broke the silence and spoke for many of the people in United States that had been accused of being pro-communists, and, therefore, were incarcerated and/or their work and careers fisnished. Consequently, Edward R. Murrow gave and honest and moving discourse inviting people to not be silent, but to speak out and to denounce the injustices made by Senator McCarthy.

In addition, advocacy journalism was also exercised by the television during the Civil Rights Movement; therefore, it had a great impact on viewers because they could see at first hand the brutal violence exercised by white citizens and the police towards African-Americans. Journalists, even when sometimes not allowed to stay at places with very strong racial tensions, gave voice to the voiceless, to the millions of African-Americans who have suffered the injustices of unfair politics.

During this revolutionary time of the Civil Rights Movement, the media exercised its role of informing people, but at the same time sent a message of intolerance towards discriminatory practices made by many white citizens, policemen and politicians. An important event during this period took place in Little Rock, Arkansas, in which a group of nine African-Americans students were enrolled at a high school full of white students. Fortunately, TV news gave the importance that this event deserved and they broadcasted all the humiliations these African-American students had to go through; therefore, many people in the country were informed about the unfair way these students were treated.

Finally, I hope that in contemporary times journalism of advocacy grows and has a greater impact on people all over the world. Even more, I now believe that not matter which medium people are being informed by, what truly matters is that a great amount of well informed people can make a difference, make history and change paradigms.

Written by vurbi

May 14, 2011 at 07:32

Posted in Uncategorized

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