Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Will I be a Good Journalist?

Jeanne Cantwell

Since I can remember I have always been fascinated by the entertainment industry. Staying up late to watch any and every award show with my parents was always something I looked forward to. Music, movies, celebrity gossip, you name it I love it all. This has always excited me and concerned me about my career as an entertainment journalist.

If I could have my dream career it would be hosting E! News at night and standing on the red carpet interviewing actors and musicians at award shows.
Photo courtesy of eonline.com 
Most people think that it's just a phase, and when I'm older I will want to report on "serious news", but this field is what I'm truly passionate about. Although there is one part that makes me nervous, and question my ability to remain ethical in this field. That would be remaining unbiased when it comes to reporting on certain entertainers and their work. Reading the article by Derk Richardson, Critics Sound Off on the Ethics of Music Journalism really opened my eyes to some of the challenges I might face in this field.

Creating a relationship with the person you're reporting on is somewhat necessary if you want to get a quality interview. In my eyes, it is important to establish some level of trust. A great example of this always comes to mind when I think of the relationship Angelina Jolie had with Ex Today Show reporter Ann Curry. If you remember back in 2012 Jolie apparently made it clear that she and Brad would not give an interview to anyone on the Today Show Staff unless it was Curry. Jolie and Curry had developed a professional friendship based on respect, and Jolie reportedly only trusted Curry with her interviews. I always found that story fascinating, regardless of the amount of truth there is to it. To me, it shows the importance of building professional relationships in order deliver the best interview.

There is a point where it can go to far. You don't want to cross that fine line as a reporter and I think every journalist likes to believe they won't. As Richardson mentioned in his article regarding the perks of being a reporter in the music industry; It's easy to want to accept the gifts that come along with the job. For example, receiving tickets and transportation to a large music festival in order to cover it. You would almost feel like you had to give a glowing review because you were able to attend for free. That's when a critics opinion becomes irrelevant because they seem bias.

I have also always thought about how far I would go to get a story. I think of the European Refugees on a train that stopped in Hungary earlier this month. When I was reading coverage on this story I was immediately drawn to the part regarding the reporters covering the event. Its reported that members of the media were ushered away from the station and that refugees were shouting for them not to leave.
Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

I began to think what I would do in this situation. Would I just oblige to the orders of the officers or would I put down my camera and try to help?

Situations like this come up for journalist all the time. If I was asked to do an interview with a grieving mother who had just lost a child, for example, I would feel uncomfortable. In my opinion there becomes a point where you realize that you're a human being too. I would want to reach out and comfort that mother, but as journalists we are told to report the story. This is what worries me about my abilities in this field. I want to be a good journalist but more importantly I want to be a good person. If this means that I form friendships with people I report on, or put down the camera to comfort someone then I will do so gladly. That may not be the popular opinion, but it's mine and at the end of the day you have to be able to live with the choices you made. I want to say that I always made the right decisions by others, even if that means I don't get the story.

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