Throwing Shade

Read this before you blame the media for the world’s problems

Justin Mitchell
Justin Mitchell

This may come as a shock to you. In fact, you might want to sit down.

The media, that word you throw around as if you’ve worked in a newsroom since college graduation, isn’t running a joint conspiracy to promote political propaganda of whichever hot-button issue of the week you don’t agree with.

The media is not a group of six 60-year-old white dudes in three-piece suits making decisions from a corner office and trickling it down to every website, newspaper outlet and broadcast station across America. And no, we aren’t those hypothetical men’s minions, either.

Let me give you some insight on who makes up “the media.” Call it Media 101, if you will. But you don’t even have to pay tuition for this crash course. I’ll gladly let you in on our secret for free.

Here’s who operates the media:

There are newspaper reporters who have been working in the industry since the times when you could still smoke cigarettes and take shots of whiskey next to your typewriter. There are young journalists, fresh out of college and working a second job at night to pay off their student-loan debt. There are broadcast journalists and photographers and now video specialists who get woke up at every hour of the night to cover breaking news.

You know, because news never sleeps. Even though our industry has drastically changed in the last decade, that facet of journalism stays the same.

And when I say change, I don’t mean the Barack Obama change so many of you protest by putting very elaborate bumper stickers on your cars. The media industry is transforming to digital as America transforms, giving its citizens fresh, up-to-date content via mobile and social media as soon as it happens.

The beast is getting hungrier for quick content. And the beast wants to see it all.

And here’s something else you may have confused. We don’t decide what we report for you — your readership is what crafts our reporting. That’s right. We write the things you want to see — the things you’re clicking on.

So, the next time you go to make that Facebook status about how the media is ruining everything, think about who you’re talking about. It’s someone’s 20-something social media coordinator who has had Taco Bell for the past four nights because payday isn’t until (next) Friday. It’s someone who doesn’t get to punch out at 5 p.m. It’s the person who sees their co-workers more than their own family because they love what they do. And that love is for reporting the news.

Don’t blame journalists for doing their job when things happen that people need to know about, even if you don’t think it’s news. Don’t boo — move on.

When I say media, I’m not talking about those fake news sites or sites that publish biased posts they pass off as journalism. And as a member of the media, it’s not my job to educate on how to tell if something is really news or not. That should be a given.

The wonderful thing about opinions is everyone is free to think however they choose. But don’t confuse news reporting with and don’t blame journalism for telling the people what’s going on in the world.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J