BY NINA RAMIREZ
It’s a well-known fact that journalists have the important job of informing society about the reality of the world. Unfortunately, they have had to face multiple difficulties doing their job throughout the years.
Journalists in 2020 have faced physical attacks, false imprisonments and demeaning comments from the public and government officials in what could be seen as one of the worst years for the First Amendment in American history.
With the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak occurring in the U.S., 2020 has further unmasked declining global viewpoints about journalists.
“Over the decades for which such data has been available, we have seen that people tend to think of journalism in a more favorable light than, say, the White House or Congress, but as less trustworthy than medicine, education, the military, organized religion or major corporations,” Columbia Journalism Review writer Michael Schudson said.
“In my opinion, I think that these attacks are uncalled for as reporters are just trying to do their job of bringing the news to the public.”The Round Up Copy and Content Manager Sarah Marks
The challenge journalists face in 2020 is the danger that comes with the job nowadays. While some civilians think that journalists have a simple job of just writing a story, the reality is that this is not true at all. Additionally, some reporters have even been physically and verbally attacked along with being wrongfully imprisoned just for doing their job while covering the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.
“In my opinion, I think that these attacks are uncalled for as reporters are just trying to do their job of bringing the news to the public,” The Round Up Copy and Content Manager Sarah Marks said. “Reporters are essential to how we get our information and for them to get their stories, they shouldn’t have to fear being attacked.”
On a Friday in May, CNN reported half a dozen instances of attacks against journalists, including the arrest of a CNN crew in Minneapolis and two news photographers in Las Vegas.
“Reporters by and large said they wanted the attention to be focused on the communities they cover, not on their own safety concerns” CNN reporter Brian Stelter said. “Still, the incidents provoked concern from a range of advocacy groups.”
Journalists consistently put themselves in harm’s way whenever they cover a story. Reporters don’t know what is going to happen when they “go live” for a story or knock on a stranger’s door for a quote. This is a reality journalists face daily for even the most basic story.
Along with being physically attacked by strangers during protests, it seems that politicians have no mercy when it comes to verbally abusing them. President Donald Trump constantly attacks the press in tweets and in interviews. Trump has verbally attacked reporters for asking legitimate questions about the pandemic.
With Trump being the president of the U.S., he has a certain influence over people’s opinions, along with having power over the country. So, many people, mostly his supporters, are likely listening to his multiple negative messages regarding the press and believing in his views. Whenever there comes news that he doesn’t like, he tends to use the phrase “fake news” to influence people that the reporters are making false claims.
When reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump in a CNN interview on March 20 what the president would say to Americans who are afraid during the pandemic, Trump responded that he is a “terrible reporter” and that the question was “nasty.”
Additionally, financial troubles seem to be following journalists as the pandemic and protests are leading them to being on forced furloughs.
“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, furloughs, layoffs and closures took local journalists in the U.S. away from the critical work they provide. Add to those losses the 56% of newspaper jobs lost in the past decade, according to Pew Research,” Poynter writer Kristen Hare said.
Attacks against the media are nothing new in other countries.
“[Reporters Without Borders communication officer Noni] Ghani said some of the biggest dangers journalists face today include verbal and physical assaults, wrongful imprisonment, torture and murder,” The Daily Universe writer Kaitlyn Bancroft said.
From going to a crime scene to get information they need for their article or having to go to a possibly dangerous event during a pandemic to make their report, journalists are known to take risks for the sake of what they need to publish for the public.
Photo by The Lariat Photography