Minutes removed from Spotlight being awarded the Oscar for Best Picture Sunday came the predictable consensus about a film involving hard-nosed investigative journalism being awarded the top prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The sentiment was that somehow the award was a feather in the cap for the journalism profession. A film about journalism winning an award isn’t an award or a win for journalism. It’s an award for a film.
A win for journalism is a day when newsrooms aren’t emptied out by corporate bean counters.
A win for journalism is a day when talented writers and editors work on stories of substance and not click bait.
A win for journalism is a day when social media isn’t confused with actual media.
A win for journalism is a day when the general public relies on trusted and trained professionals to let them know what’s going on in their community, country and world. And maybe even pay for it.
A win for journalism is a day when those same trusted and trained professionals can earn a salary competitive with pharmaceutical reps, health insurance salespeople or even local and state municipal or government workers.
A win for journalism – and for the general public – is a day when the local newscast or local paper isn’t filled with crime reports and sad stories of hard-scrabble people down on their luck after the latest fire, accident, disease breakout or other tragedy.
A win for journalism is a day when people aren’t forced to listen to so-called leaders of the community (I’m looking at you politicians) throw around meaningless phrases like “liberal media” when something doesn’t go their way.
A win for journalism is a when journalism isn’t confused with entertainment. A day when it is, well, journalism.