On July 4, an assessment of American journalism

By Alex Veeneman on July 3, 2012

A stack of newspapers.
(Photo courtesy of the federal government)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views expressed in this post are that of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Uloop. The author encourages a conversation and invites you to leave a comment below.

Tomorrow, the United States will celebrate the two-hundred and thirty-sixth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Fireworks will sparkle the skies of the country’s major cities as contemplations begin by approximately 314 million citizens of what it means to be an American. For one industry however, it is a normal day–the media industry.

Journalism in the United States has reached a crossroads. As the changes in technology and the continued rise of social media and the internet cause contemplation by publishers and organizations alike in how they should keep up moving forward as Americans choose different ways to consume journalism, it has allowed for a diversity of opinions when it comes to the issues of the day. As journalism in America went through the last of the 20th century, the debate on these issues was very much able to remain intact without compromising integral, impartial, and objective journalism.

Then, in the beginning of the 21st century, things began to change. As the rise of Fox News and MSNBC became apparent seeing CNN trying to adapt, with political blogs and the expeditive rise of the celebrity culture plaguing much of the news, the question of existence when it came to quality, impartial journalism began to arise. Of course there were some outlets who would stick to it but also broaden international horizons and try to curate a conversation, like NPR and The New York Times, but it seemed for the moment, as it does now as I type this, that the idea of impartial journalism in the United States is one that no longer exists.

I ponder that perhaps things will improve once the election is over, but I’m not so sure. In the age of the internet you can access sources from around the world. As a result of the popularity of overseas outlets by some in the US as a result of changes in media, especially the BBC and the British newspaper The Guardian, overseas outlets are quickly becoming the best way to get quality, impartial journalism, providing for America a unique, alternative voice on their country.

I am a strong believer in being well-read, consuming American media and international media to have a broadened understanding of the world. As a consumer however I am feeling less confident in my media here, and as a journalism student, I feel that the impartiality that we all strive for is gone forever.

Therefore, on this 4th of July, in addition to the appreciation of the dazzling fireworks, ponder what you want when it comes to your media–impartiality, or others opinions in spite? After all, the decision of whether a news outlet continues to thrive or not is in your court.

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