There are times in life when work seems to eat away at your very soul and the fight you thought you had the upper hand in, begins to get the better of you. It resurfaces to test your mental stamina and the core of your every belief.
After sitting through innumerable public meetings and interviews with a rainbow of characters, including a 60-year-old cowboy, a politician, an array of commercial developers and several environmentalist groups, I have decided that my life is less complicated than theirs but also more of a headache.
It’s absolutely essential to say that when important topics circulate into your world and you are called upon to cover them – as a member of the press, you cover them as either an impartial party or you put aside your pen/laptop and become an activist.
Because, you can’t be both an activist and a journalist.
The life of a newspaper correspondent consists of covering hot topics and developing stories. We are the immediate storytellers. The gripping new details of ever-changing events and lives beckon to us insistently.
While my paper is a small operation, it has mountainous events occurring. Significant events that will have monumental impacts to a place in the world that we all hold dear. Decisions will soon be made that will transform the way all of us and future generations will view one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Grand Canyon.
The problem is, it’s not just one issue taking place at the Canyon, it’s a whole slew of them and they’re happening now = as we speak.
First off all, these are not new topics . . . especially to those who happen to browse the pages of the Grand Canyon News. They’re not new to any who have an interest in the Grand Canyon or to those of who spend their time Googling odd topics like ‘development hoaxes at the Grand Canyon,’ ‘uranium mining on the South Rim’ or’ what is the Grand Canyon Watershed?’
The problem is they’re not hoaxes.
Yes, there are two major developments (Tusayan development and the Navajo Nation development by Katy Locke) that are trying to lay claim to two separate parts of the Grand Canyon, there are uranium mines (Canyon Mine) at the Canyon and yes, there is a power struggle between several different people groups who are both for(Veterans weigh in on watershed) and against (Arizona lawmaker and Az Game and Fish say watershed is unlawful) a proposed designation of a national monument (Grand Canyon Watershed) that will encompass 1.7 million acres around the Grand Canyon.
Are any of these decisions good or bad? Are they right or wrong? Are there individuals and groups fighting desperately to be heard on both sides? Yes. Are they being heard? Certainly. Because of journalists.
I challenge you to go to every public meeting being held for both sides of these issues and interview their leaders, talk to those in attendance . . . but first, put on the hat of an impartial journalist. Then come back and tell me exactly where you stand.
Maybe you’re already pretty firmly planted in your point of views, but perhaps you will see both sides with new eyes and obtain a new perspective. For journalists, there are several things that go through our minds, at least from my experience…
One – you will want to immediately lay down your career as a journalist to become an avid activist. Your upbringing, your beliefs and what you hold dear in your own heart will make itself evident.
Two – you will start to question those things you have held dear in your heart and mind, and will wonder if just maybe, maybe, there’s something to what’s being said. What if you’ve been wrong all your life? There will be questions and you will need a hot cup of tea to comfort you.
Three – you will realize that you have to snap out of it… you will force yourself to throw all doubt far from your mind – the tea will help this. . . .and you will do your job and you will do it better than you did before the meeting or interview. A true journalist will realize they need to get rid of their throbbing headache, they will take some aspirin and will sit down, force themselves to focus and will spend the next several hours transcribing all of the interviews and information they have gathered. They will make news – probably the morning headlines.
“The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.” Joseph Joubert
Politics. They’re as old as time and just as confusing.
That’s why God gave the world journalists. Don’t get me wrong, I realize journalists get a bad name because of what they report or how they report it. And yes, there are media outlets who feed on biases and are in the business just to make the morning headlines . . . whatever they might be.
However, think about this.
What if the world didn’t have professional journalist? What then?
I realize some of you may be cheering at that notion, but I challenge you to get your news only through the latest Facebook post or text message. The problem is, even on social media there are still pop ups proclaiming the latest headlines. We can’t go through life without knowing what’s going on. Trust me, you don’t want to rely solely on Facebook or other social ‘media’ outlets. I challenge their reliability and you probably should too.
The media is not perfect, however, journalism done right, by professionals, who not only have the knowledge and training but also the mental discipline and integrity to put the latest headlines at your disposal are essential to our world. We do our job, so you can do yours . . . . we want you to be informed and intelligent human being who will make a difference in the world. We want to report on your news.
Otherwise, what am I doing?
If I didn’t think any of this mattered, I would have laid down my press pass and signed the petition . . . . for all to see – and who knows, maybe I did anyways.