That’s how I felt when I saw the new Tumblr blog, We Are Journalists.
The site, which has garnered 80 posts since it started earlier this month, has the following posted on the homepage:
“We are journalists. We are proud of what we do. We are tired of bad press about the press. We are trying to be “team players.” We are terrified of more layoffs and paycuts. We would like to produce quality work without ‘obamasux99’ posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”
As a former professional journalists, a collegiate journalism adviser and a media professor, I spend a fair amount of time attempting to help others understand and respect the importance of media in our democratic society. It’s difficult for someone who bleeds newsprint to explain being a journalist to people who see only the negatives associated with our profession. This lack of words to describe our calling is so embedded in our professional culture that many journalists cannot even explain why the press is important. Enter this amazing blog.
We Are Journalists allows working journalists to explain the importance of their field the only way they know how–through powerful, riveting stories. The most recent post, from a reporting intern, reads:
“Before I talk to the crying mothers, the alleged rapists and the political protesters, I remind myself why I love this job: Because I tell stories no one else tells. Because I talk to people everyone else is afraid of. Because I walk closer to the burning building than anyone else. Because I meet new people every day. Because, for every crappy, wait-by-the-phone-for-a-callback day, there’s a dozen chasing-sirens, talking-to-the-homeless, solving-injustices days. Because of emails that read, “Thank you so much for writing about my son.” Because of calls from readers asking for more information. Because when a boy or girl dies, I may be the only one who will ever publish his or her story. Because of my grandma who immortalized my family history through stories.”
Many of the other posts on the site are equally as powerful. Others allow journalists to vent about the state of the industry or views of our profession. Overall, they tell the story of journalism through the pavement of the beat and the idiosyncrasies of the newsroom environment.
Journalists, if ever there is a time when you wonder why you do what you do, read this blog.
Students, when someone tells you that you’re crazy for majoring in journalism, read this blog.
Professors, when someone challenges whether or not journalism has a place in the academy, read this blog.
Afterward, it will be a little bit easier for you to do what you already know is right.