An 8th Grader asked me yesterday what I thought about the future of journalism. I can’t recall how the conversation led to the question being asked, and my answer was unmemorable, but the student closed the short back-and-forth telling me he hoped the profession would still be around when he grew up.
I think back to that conversation this early morning reading the recent work by Martín Salazar and Mercy López from the Las Vegas Optic regarding Charles Trujillo’s fabrication of credentials. I also further ponder the research/investigation New Mexico Political Report’s Joey Peters did that eventually led to the resignation of Dr. Luis Valentino as APS Superintendent and extradition/prosecution of Associate Superintendent Jason Martinez.
Where the Hell would we be without journalism?
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear that we won’t be finding out. Yesterday it was job cuts at National Geographic. A few days ago another Poynter story noted the small rise in New York Times revenue amid a sea of media companies falling further into the red.
It’s tough out there and I wonder who’s benefiting from all this downsizing. It’s clear who would still have jobs if Salazar, López and Peters weren’t around. We can only guess who is still in power due to the simple fact there’s nobody around to report on their malfeasance. Perhaps arguably, perhaps not, it can also be said we also have existing media entities choosing to overlook misdeeds and misdirection. Personally, I’d put the Albuquerque Journal firmly in this camp (your mileage, as they say, may vary). The most crippling thing about a less-than-forthright media outlet these days is that their competition continues to melt away.
Let’s go ahead and trot out the very trite line that Democracy is melting away in the process, too.
I hope my current 8th Grader follows his dream and can find a job in journalism in around ten year’s time. That said, I wonder if we all have that hope. I kinda doubt Charles Trujillo is quite the fan of journalism right now that I am, for instance. Meanwhile, we’ve got a roughly 100% chance there are plenty of Charles Trujillos and Jason Martinezes among us who will merrily go on being their pernicious, fraudulent selves if my 8th Grader turns 25 in a world where journalism has been fully replaced by “news” on Facebook (or whatever has replaced Facebook by 2025).
I guess all of the above constitutes a long-winded and trite thanks to Martín Salazar, Mercy López and Joey Peters. Keep up the good work. May each of you have the professional chance to practice that work forever, or at least until my current 8th Grader gets his own job at a rival paper.