Attempting to Restore Objectivity and Integrity to Journalism and Social Media While Being ‘Nobody But Myself’
Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting discouraged with the climate on social media as well as the climate of overall journalism I see around me including major “news” outlets like Yahoo! and “entertainment” magazines like Glamour.
Not to mention I was totally appalled listening to a radio news report a couple of days ago that totally shocked me due to its lack of objectivity.
Objectivity…this is something as a journalist that I’ve been instilled with since the beginning. For every quote from this side, you get one from the other side…unless of course you are writing an opinion piece. Or you know that one of the people who is coming up with a quote is simply being defamatory towards another.
So for example, I am listening to the Clear Channel affiliate in my area when the news comes on and talks about paraphrasing how the “Democrats would like to disband the investigation into Planned Parenthood.” They name a female Democratic New Jersey Senator who after the attacks on Planned Parenthood in Colorado referred to the investigation as “Republican Rhetoric.” Now, while the radio station quoted this Democratic Senator, it did not offer what I was waiting for…a response from the Republican side. And I waited…and the station moved on to the next news segment without it. Lame.
And then the awful terroristic tragedy occurs in San Bernardino California. The next day flashing on Yahoo is a headline that President Obama is blaming the gun laws on it and says they need to be stricter. Nothing at all showing objectivity into the issues simply one-sided reporting once again.
And forget about Facebook. I’ve honestly done something I haven’t before…I’ve unfollowed several people on my list who are simply out of control with their posts, flipping out about things and attacking anyone who has a dissenting opinion. In the “old days” people were able to have civilized political discussions…or discussions about anything…and still shake hands. But in this day and age and especially from those on both side of the extreme political fence, it gets ugly and attacking. Everyone has a bug up their butt. People can’t agree on abortion, gun control, sexuality, Caitlyn Jenner, ISIS, Obama, Trump, Christie, Syria, Israel, religion, vaccines and more. Fine, let’s just agree to disagree and move on and respect each others’ opinions. Instead what happens? Someone gets a wild hair up their derriere and they get nasty, and hit the delete and block button before flying that person the bird, telling them what a loser they are and then going on a rant to all of their friends about the person who is the “freaking idiot” because they simply expressed their opinion. Then the attacker goes on a tirade on Instagram videos and tweets too when they were the one who started all the trouble…and everyone glorifies them though they are really the assailant. It’s seriously becoming like the Lord of the Flies.
And Facebook…the most slanted of all. Of course, I don’t mind that Facebook offered the rainbow or French flag filters…but even though we’ve had two terrorist attacks in our country this week, do you think Mark Zuckerberg would even have the decency to post an American Flag filter? No, people who have made his site wealthy and popular, the home country that has raised him, have to look to some site with an “io” domain name that is signifies “British Indian Ocean Territory.” This is a UK site where we have to get a filter for our own American Flag???
It is a strange world we live in on social media and instead of coming closer, we are falling apart and often being dumbed down and sheepled into weird caverns that sensationalized and subjective journalism leads us to – Yes, even the so-called “objective” Fox that likes to wag its pompous tail of purported objectivity is guilty of it as well.
I manage a few spots on the Internet. One of them is Inside Scene, a name and site that I developed that I felt would define my mission when I started the site over two years ago. That’s because I always seek the “inside scene” when I’m writing articles.
As one of my previous editors wrote about me on Linked In was that “her attention to detail and willingness to dig deeper, find the nuance in a story and report it back to readers made her a valuable team member. Her work ethic, ability and sensitivity for any subject she tackled, coupled with her outstanding photographic eye have served Jennifer well.” This person also added that “I was pleased to be able to call on Jennifer for a diverse variety of assignments and she never once disappointed. I unhesitatingly recommend her skills as a reporter, researcher, writer and photographer.”
Another wrote, “Jennifer is the cream of the crop when it comes to community journalists. Her stories are always extremely thorough with colorful quotes and angles that other publications miss. She always makes deadline and takes amazing photos too.”
I am so grateful and thankful to these editors for having mentored me, as well as for their faith in my work. It’s something that I’ve carried as I’ve managed my very own “inside scene.”
I’d like to continue to grow this quality, objective journalism that I’ve always prided myself on. Like so many I hear around me who complain about what they are reading. I am sick of the hypocrisies. That is because many journalists who work for the mainstream are told what to do or see the door and they work for publications that are working for the headline and the almighty advertisers. Case in point when I shared the byline of the piece honoring courageous women (click here to read ) I did so to counter the stupidity that Glamour keeps pushing with the Kardashian agenda. I wanted to honor real women who have done real things…and it was especially inspired by my Facebook friend, retired NYPD Officer James Smith, who pushed back at that establishment after they gave Caitlyn Jenner, not even a female for a year, a Woman of the Year Award…the same award his wife Moira Smith received posthumously after shepherding thousands to safety before losing her own life in the South Tower on 9/11/01. I received 19 likes in my last count on my post on Glamour, though there were a few absolutely rude women (or should I call them “girls?”) who were basically high schoolish and told me that no one cared what I had to say (I guess those 19 who liked my post counted as “no one”), and “I have a lot to say but it’s none of my business,” when I defended James on there because Glamour didn’t even have the decency to speak to him personally when he returned his wife’s award, and their editor spoke through a spokesperson. Caitlyn Jenner’s spokesperson didn’t comment at all. One described James as “not so noble.” I asked this person if they found Glamour or Caitlyn Jenner noble for “not responding directly to the widower of a woman who gave her life after rescuing thousands.” Of course, all I heard were crickets in those mouse click warrior replies.
But what I’ve found is the more I express my opinion and write insightful articles that promote the good in society, not just the headliners…promote the police and the good they do and not the gloom and doom and smear campaigns that other publications do…
The difference is that I am objective and I do investigate. I don’t just print whatever vomit someone attempts to project my way. In fact, I’ve turned away such content that has come to me in letters to the editor (namely during election season when candidate bashing is in full swing) and I’ve told people to rewrite defamatory posts because I wasn’t publishing them. Some have, others have walked away and other places have published what I’ve rejected. Some have attempted to defame me for sticking to my beliefs that I won’t publish something defamatory or I write objective articles when I sniff out their agendas.
As ee cummings wrote, “To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
I am going to keep fighting for objective journalism with integrity because I know while we have many followers who have become “everybody else” in this world, there are still so many who are striving to be “nobody but yourself” and are seeking those writing voices to represent them.
I am one of the “nobody but yourself” people like many of you. I pray I can continue to represent all of you in this ever changing world. I can’t do it alone though…and I have in a lot of ways. I took on Inside Scene on my own and it continues to grow.
I have an opportunity though where people can help. Even if anyone who has ever read and enjoyed my site once was able to give $1…I could do so much. If you start with $10 I let you include your name or honor someone on the ever growing Inside Scene Wall of Fame…more names are in the process of being added as we speak. Imagine what great things I could do with this site if every person who has benefitted from it at least once was able to donate $10?
I started this business as a divorced mom with health challenges and even after being ripped off in another media business by the fraudster of fraudsters. In fact, after that experience and wiping off my scraped knees, I got back up, and I’ve had others come to me who are victims in several different fraud cases. I would like to continue to strengthen as an advocate in this type of civil fraud where it feels like there are few remedies for the victims and the predators still run around and rip people off. In fact, I’m working on several articles right now in cases of fraud that I feel can inform readers and help to bring some sort of peace and closure to victims.
I’m a never quit person and I’ll never quit on my mission to make this world and your world a better place through journalism.
Click here to give to Inside Scene and help me to make even greater strides to restoring objectivity and integrity to journalism.
Thank you for reading.
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