The journalism industry faces many challenges. Most of them fall into two categories: decreasing revenue and increasing mistrust.
The public’s low opinion of journalists is nothing new.
They’re used to people calling them biased.
They’re accustomed to readers and viewers criticizing their work.
They know they aren’t well liked by most people.
But they will not and should not get used to feeling unsafe while doing their jobs.
Here’s the new reality for journalists:
They frequently face personal attacks in reader comments; they’re often threatened on social media; and many have been physically attacked while on the job.
The current tone about the news media is unreasonable and dangerous.
Most journalists aren’t well paid. They work unpredictable hours. Many worry they’ll be laid off in the near future.
Yet, they show up for work to give you information about local events.
They’re on the scene in the aftermath of tragedies to tell the stories of the survivors and the heroes and to memorialize the dead.
They sit through city council and school board meetings and sift through piles of documents to make sure your elected officials are working on your behalf.
Yes, they make mistakes. Sometimes they give an issue a little too much attention – or not enough.
But journalists are people who are just trying to do their jobs and make their communities a better place.
You don’t have to demean them or threaten them to criticize them.
And for all the journalists. I have two words you don’t hear nearly enough: Thank you.
I’m Erin Gibson, and that’s what I have to say.