by Katelyn Massarelli
Time Magazine announced their pick for Person of the Year in late December as “The Guardians” and their role in the War on Truth. While this announcement was meant to recognize the entirety of journalism, it made a point to highlight the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered this year after publishing a column against the Saudi Arabian government.
Other notable entries included the staff of The Capital Gazette, whose newsroom was the target of a mass shooting this past June. UT alumna Selene San Felice, a former editor and staffer of The Minaret, is a member of the Gazette’s staff.
This was an extreme win for journalism and the fight to tell the truth.
Journalism is all I’ve thought about the past three and a half years of college. I’ve worked for The Minaret, and spent more than a year and a half working for the Tampa Bay Times.
The Guardians are found around the world as journalists imprisoned, killed, threatened and censored. The truth has never been more important than now. To an outsider the journalism world as a whole is diminishing, but in reality its evolving to meet the needs of the fast-paced society we live in.
Pushback on the work of a publication or broadcast station is inevitable with where we stand in politics. Supporting journalism, though, is vital to our democracy. If news were to go away all we’d have is more and more bias.
We’d get our sports news directly from the league, painting a perfect picture of their athletes. We’d get our daily dose of politics from whitehouse.gov. Local news from county or city websites. This means that if you’re not inclined to look, you have no valuable way to inform yourself.
Time Magazine made a valuable choice in naming The Guardians as person of the year. Using their platform allows the truth of the industry to be brought to light and discussed on a wider scale.
Journalists are the first to go after corruption in government and corporation. They’re the ones who discover and investigate for their readers. We are the watchdogs for the people.
We do the hard reporting and bark at the sight of danger. We conquer deadline pressure, Fake News accusations, sources not responding, writer’s block — we don’t complain. We keep fighting.
Our founding fathers gave us First Amendment rights for a reason. They knew what it meant to be censored by an oppressive government and wanted the people to have the right to a free press.
The Guardians represent a rise in the need for free press and access to the truth. Around the world, the war on truth goes on and each day we need to remember the importance of news and the work journalists do despite the odds.
Layoffs continue to skyrocket as I and fellow journalist enter the field with little to no job security. The evolution of journalism is upon us. Be on the right side of history.
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at Katelyn.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @katelyn_jou