By Chris Ramos
There is no invention more crucial than writing, as it is the seed to civilization. Writing allows a person to leave their footprint, as it immortalizes their ideas. There are writings which are utilized as blueprints, passed down with the intention of continuing innovation. There are writings which have won the heart of the literary world, gifting the world with respectable artistry. There are, of course, the writings which are meant to inform. These writings are to serve as the bridge between the known and the unknown. The names of the people who associate themselves with that kind of writing are journalists.
Journalism is undoubtedly a front line occupation. It is an occupation which requires a person to interact with more enthusiasm than the average person. It is a occupation which demands attentive, observant pupils. It is an occupation which entrusts a great responsibility, as you are to gather information which will be relayed to other people. In due time, you are introduced to the world in unique ways which are truly humbling.
From working for a local newspaper, to being a sports writer, to the extremes of being a war correspondent, journalism stretches touches upon the details of life. What is most awe inducing, however, is the fact that Journalism has evolved enormously.
Early documentations from scribes served as records in the archives until the birth of the printing press within the Holy Roman Empire. After this milestone came to fruition, which was headed by Johannes Gutenberg, the reality of mass communication was alive.
As another cigarette is ignited, the rampant clicks of a typewriter continue to ensue, as the 20th Century gave rise to the expanded role of the media. Muckrakers flare in the first decade. Literary titans such as Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway begin their careers as journalists. The 1930’s initiate a golden age for photojournalism, which adds another dynamic to the field. Large bulbs flicker, capturing a picture of the next jazz crooner, as the morning papers have become a staple in American homes. Anxious eyes scan the headlines about the latest news on Soviet relations.
Move into the latter half of the century, we see the work of journalism shake the ground beneath us, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein report on the watergate scandal. A scandal which leads to the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Technological advances introduce us to personal computers, which are information hubs due to the internet. Another milestone had been reached.
Fast forward to the present day, and we can look up news within seconds on our smartphones. Noteworthy events can be captured by a phone on video and distributed on social media quickly, giving rise to “pedestrian” journalists. Newspapers are beginning to fade from the scene, as a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center says the following:
“This drop was due entirely to print circulation, which declined by 9%, while digital circulation increased by 2%. Sunday circulation, meanwhile, fell 4%, following a 3% decrease in 2014. As with weekday circulation, the fall in Sunday circulation was due to a decline in print circulation, which fell 5% while digital rose 4%. For both weekday and Sunday circulation, the fall represents a continuation of the trend that began in 2014. After 2009, circulation seemed to be cutting its losses, even showing a small increase in 2013. But after a decline of 3% in both weekday and Sunday in 2014, 2015 saw circulation fall even more rapidly.” (Barthel, Michael. 2015)
Physical print doesn’t hold the same significance, and convenience plays a large role. Online news outlets, such as our very own NordoniaHills.News, can cover stories within hours. Details can be attained and sent to the public rapidly, to be read on their phone, which meets the ever increasing demand of the public. An interesting dynamic to online news is it’s reach potential. A person can easily share an article with friends and family (as opposed to clipping out articles back in the day), which they may share too. Exponential growth, plain and simple.
A Facebook post on NordoniaHills.News, which spoke of a robbery occurring in Oakwood, was an urgent matter to the public. The post reached over 20,000 people on Facebook.
Technology has even been incorporated into teaching, as education evolves. Digital progression has impacted our society like a tidal wave, as the next generations continue to revel in its growth. The door to information is blown wide open, as the public doesn’t have to depend on big networks or publishers. That tension, that skepticism can be relieved as alternative media sources await around the corner.
More than just convenience and variety, today’s journalism also emphasizes versatility as video editing skills prove to be a great asset, coupled with photography.
We’ve come a long way from simple scribbles, as journalism will go wherever the technological wind takes it, while continuing to crowd with competition.