February 2014

Journalism Students: Breaking the Stereotype

In my three years at journalism school I have often encountered a certain stereotype.

When some people hear that you are a journalist they instantly create this image in their head.

To begin with, there is a nice smiley picture of you in their mind. They’re thinking Oh this person seems really nice. I wonder if we are going to be friends…

But then they hear that horrendously scorned profession… journalism. As this word seeps into their concious, it is joined by a number of assumptions and suspicions and ill-informed beliefs. In their mind you are part of a cult. One that is out to get everyone and anyone. They think this person has no morals! They begin to believe that you will lie and cheat and deceive to get your own way. They believe that you are a snake in disguise, that you care little for feelings and people and more for column inches and front page stories.

They do not see the real you. The honest journalist, the one who wants to do right by the world and to help make it a better place. The journalist who wishes to uncover wrong-doings and bring attention to worthy causes. That is the journalist I want to be.

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And I realise that journalists have been giving our profession a bad name for decades but I have hope for this new generation. I have hope that we can do good and, despite the odd loose cannon, that we can regain the public’s confidence in us.

Journalists are good people. At Carleton, whenever I have needed help or have been panicking over a deadline or simply don’t know how to work technology, a journalist has always been there to help me out. Students at this journalism school have given me their time and patience and support without question, without disapproval, and without any expectation for the favour to be returned.

The competitive, egotistical and uncaring journalism world that you picture in your head, that is not the world I know. And none of those words describe the journalists who I have met or had the pleasure of working with.

Journalism is a chaotic profession and not everyone makes it out with their morals intact. But I have faith that with a little more public understanding and a lot less unfair stereotyping, we can create a media that people will be proud of.

Love Jill

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One thought on “Journalism Students: Breaking the Stereotype

  1. Hey, Im a journalism student as well, and I really do agree with you! I get a lot of people saying “What kind of a journalist are you going to be? How honest will you be?” – or something along the line of those. Its almost like they have decided in their heads that we’re bad people before they even know us. But anyway, hope things are well for ya!

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