“Democracy Dies In Darkness”

No truer words have ever been written.

There is plenty of buzz about the Washington Post’s first ever Super Bowl ad.  I didn’t get the chance to see it live, but after finding the video, I must say — it had an effect on me.

Take a look if you haven’t seen it:

Journalists have really been taking it on the chin lately.  The rise of Donald J. Trump and the coining of “fake news” has forced many news reporters to re-double their efforts.  Often times, people just decide not to believe what they see, hear, or read from reputable news sources.

In the last couple of years, I’ve see certain images of T-Shirts which suggest “the only good journalist is a dead journalist”.  Words like “journalist” and “journalism” don’t carry the same kind of weight they used to.

All of that aside, I think it’s good to remind everyone who they’re getting this information from.

The average news reporter, at least the ones I know, work extremely hard and very often work for less than admirable pay.

They care deeply about “getting it right”.

And when they “get it wrong” — it rips at their gut — they lose sleep over it and not for just one night.  I know all of this because I’ve experienced it myself.

Like anyone, journalists have a bad day, they get lazy, or they just miss something.  But every day, they stand up and come back into work.  And the vast majority of days, they passionately pursue stories, bringing us important information we can incorporate into our lives or — just our world view.

Journalists have a special ability to see things from a multitude of different perspectives.  They have the ability to disagree with — or have scruples with — any issue or topic, but still speak truth to it — as a service.

This ad reminded me of my many colleagues and friends in the profession.  They are people I’m proud to know.  They are people who do their level best to find and accurately report on stories that matter.

There are also veteran news professionals who still do the old fashioned, slow, trudging, and vital job of investigative reporting.  These people do exist.

With the advent of Twitter and the virtual minute by minute barrage of news fodder (grist for the mill, as my dad would say), it’s a wonder these reporters are able to remain focused on a single, in-depth investigation.

Knowing and understanding the world around us is, in some ways, what helps create purpose for people.  It certainly helps people navigate the world around them.

I always hope people will look kindly upon journalists and understand that what they do — in many ways and for better or worse — they do for you.

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