Although perhaps not the most academic description, “blowing the lid off bullshit” certainly captures the heart of journalism.
That definition comes from one of my second year broadcast students. He was part of a cohort that was asked to produce a short piece defining journalism from a student perspective—both as an assignment and to encourage interest in an upcoming conference.
His group’s work can be seen here. But all the pieces—despite the sometimes soft-focus or backgrounds that include somebody’s closet 🙂 —show honest reflection, and recognition, of the important job these students are preparing to do.
“Blowing the lid off bullshit” is a worthy goal no matter if you’re at a major network or running a private blog. And without people willing to do so, democracy has a poor chance of survival.
As another group identified, we’re lucky to be part of a privileged minority, the free press. And as part of the free press, it’s important to note the significance of seeing a story “from every angle”— one of my favourite pieces captures the relevance of perspective.
Some other student reflections (just click on any quote to see the video):
- Journalists are like “adventurers searching for the Lost Ark”
- “Journalism is about trust”
- Journalism is “a mirror to democracy”
- Journalism is about “giving a voice to the voiceless”
But these students also acknowledged that today’s journalism is often flawed. As one eloquently put it, too often “journalism is about perfectly parted bangs.”
What is journalism? That’s a monumental question—but thinking about the answer is time well spent for students, teachers, and journalists alike.