Final Essay - 1 ASCJ 100 TA Brandon Golob 22 October 2014...

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1 ASCJ 100 TA: Brandon Golob 22 October 2014 ASCJ 100 Final Essay 1. “Speaking one’s mind isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be” (Parker). These horrifying words were written in the aftermath of the Donald Sterling scandal by Kathleen Parker, a columnist—a journalist —from the Washington Post. While they ostensibly do not pertain to the prompt about why journalism matters and why it will not die as a profession, I propose that the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech in this country are so inextricably linked that the death of one is the death of the other, and their importance to the progression of discourse mandate that their existence is of vital importance to the sustainability of freedom. Both freedom of the press and freedom of speech stem from the same main idea that citizens, and by extension journalists, have the right to discuss and freely challenge governmental and societal structures, and those rights shall not be impeded—showing that they are very much cut from the same cloth. Moreover, journalists embody the freedom of speech more so than any of their fellow citizens because uncovering truths and challenging ideas are the main components of their profession. As such, should the freedom of speech, a right loosely appreciated by Ms. Parker above, be revoked, the entirety of journalism and its pillars of truth finding and idea challenging would be rendered obsolete. Now that the connection between freedom of speech and freedom of the press has been made, the importance of both must be laid out. Freedom of the press, and by extension freedom of speech, allows for a constant flow of information, thus enlightening the citizenry and allowing them to formulate their own ideas and challenge others. While not everyone exercises his or her
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2 freedom of speech in desirable ways, the beauty of the original freedom is that others can arise to challenge the undesirable ideas. That’s where journalism comes in, because journalism as a profession has been dubbed “cultural storytellers” (Holman). As cultural storytellers, it is the obligation of good journalists to expose undesirable ideas and be the catalyst for public discourse that reshapes cultural identity. Because journalists have the most power to shape the culture we live in through discourse and the combined freedoms of press and speech, our society can be informed and fluid. The ability to be the catalyst for change and the position as the only profession tasked with informing society are the reasons journalism cannot and will not die; no matter what medium it ends up being presented through. And the fact that society is still being affected by discourse begat by journalists—for example, the discourse on domestic violence in the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident—proves that it is not dying.
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