Opinion: Pursuing a Journalism Degree in 2017 Has Lost Its Appeal

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Opinion: Pursuing a Journalism Degree in 2017 Has Lost Its Appeal

I knew at a young age that I would end up with an English degree some day. During a 9th grade analysis of archetypes in Disney’s The Lion King, I realized how incredibly vast the nuances of the subject could be. Green eyes stopped being just green eyes and became a symbol of envy. I was hooked.

Soon after beginning college, I realized that I absolutely did not want to become a teacher. Unsure of what career I could transmogrify an English degree into,  I began dabbling in reporting and copywriting to see how I felt about journalism as a whole. Surprisingly, I loved it.

As an introvert, reporting is the last thing I expected to feel passionate about. Asking strangers questions is not on my list of preferred hobbies. However, the feeling of breaking a fresh story quickly overcame all of my hesitancies. I was a bright-eyed student with a clear goal. 

Well, that was six years ago. Things have changed.

In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election, journalism has taken an omnidirectional beating. 

The rise of misinformation, or “fake news”, on social media has tainted what was once a worthwhile goal: to spread the truth and inform the masses. 

Journalists often get a bad rap in movies and television. They’re portrayed as sleazy manipulators feeding off of tragedy and misfortune. I don’t think that’s fair. 

The blame should not lie solely on journalists, society, or the government, for all of these entities are to some degree at fault. 

Sure, when your eccentric Aunt Barb shares an outlandish conspiracy theory on Facebook, you might keep scrolling without a second thought. But not all fake news is so easy to spot these days.

Mainstream media chooses what to report on and what to bury, so the general public isn’t getting access to the coverage of important events. And we as readers seek other news outlets to fill the gaps. Unfortunately, these are often obscenely uncredible. 

It’s frustrating as an individual who was once excited about doing good journalistic work. 

While we like to think that we have the power to right these societal wrongs, I feel that the state of journalism in 2017 is too far beyond repair for little ol’ me to be capable of much change. 

That’s why I have decided to put a hold on the Journalism degree for now. I think the I from 9th-grade had it right the first time.

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