Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Journalism interns are vital to our future

Last week I started working with two bright young interns.

Without knowing it, they give me hope. I was pressing forward in my week, despite my discouragement after talking to a young person who informed me that they don’t read, listen or watch any “long-form” content in order to better understand important issues, whether it’s news or any information that helps them be informed on issues ranging from politics to health, education, etc.

They don’t ingest any content more than 30 seconds to a minute. I asked, “How do you get an understanding on more nuanced issues that affect your community?” They responded they just listen to what their friends or family have to say.

I thought, “We are done as a society and culture. We’ve trained our young people to be addicted to little screens that give them dopamine rushes every 30 seconds and there is no interest in real information, probably until they experience a real emergency or total chaos somehow, and then it may be too late.”

For over 25 years, Village News and Valley News have always invested in young people as interns and now we have a nonprofit in which to grow that program. With a little help from our supporters we have been able to start the 501(c)3 and add videos and curriculum to our training, giving us far more structure.

We also start with a strengths assessment that every person takes so we can have a foundation of understanding the person we are working with. Sometimes journalism is not a good fit for them ultimately because of the unique set of strengths they have.

Whether they end up becoming a journalist or not, it is important that we invest in the individual. We want to instill in them the importance of asking questions and then asking more questions. They learn about the 1st Amendment which gives them unique rights that can’t be taken for granted. And we talk about the responsibilities that go along with that right.

We talk about how unique that is in the world, completely unknown in other parts of the world. Often young people who have had the privilege of being born in the United States don’t understand that they would be jailed or killed in other parts of the world for their free speech, or the way they dress, or who they decide to marry.

Training and nurturing journalism interns is vital for the health of our democracy, a concept deeply rooted in the principles of the First Amendment and the vision of our Founding Fathers. As Thomas Jefferson famously stated, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

This underscores the essential role a free and robust press plays in maintaining our pluralistic and democratic society.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and press, recognizing that an informed citizenry is the cornerstone of democracy.

James Madison, another key architect of our Constitution, argued, "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or, perhaps both."

These foundational beliefs highlight that a well-informed public, empowered by a free press, is crucial for the proper functioning of democracy.

In today's digital age, the landscape of information dissemination has dramatically shifted, with social media playing an increasingly dominant role. While social media platforms provide rapid access to information and diverse viewpoints, they also pose significant risks.

The proliferation of misinformation and echo chambers can distort public perception and polarize society. Unlike traditional journalism, which adheres to rigorous standards of accuracy, balance, and accountability, social media often lacks these ethical safeguards, leading to the spread of unchecked and sometimes harmful information.

That’s not to say that all media adhere to rigorous standards either. Today we live in a society where most news stations are driven by politics, marketing and ideology, rather than ethical journalistic standards. And that just exacerbates our situation.

Herein lies the critical importance of training and nurturing journalism interns. These young professionals represent the future of credible, ethical journalism. Through comprehensive training, interns learn the fundamental principles of journalism – objectivity, verification, transparency, and accountability.

They are taught to prioritize facts over sensationalism, to scrutinize sources, and to uphold the public interest above all else. This professional rigor ensures that the news remains a reliable resource for citizens, enabling informed decision-making and fostering a well-functioning democracy.

Moreover, nurturing journalism interns ensures the sustainability of investigative journalism, a key component of a healthy press. Investigative journalism shines a light on corruption, injustice, and abuse of power, holding those in authority accountable. Without a new generation of trained journalists, the capacity for such crucial reporting diminishes, weakening the pillars of democratic oversight.

This is also a great challenge, because strong,young excellent investigative journalists in our country are being harassed by government agencies for their work, which is so counter to everything for which the First Amendment stands.

Just because they are doing their work, whether it’s investigating government agencies, big pharma (which funds many news stations), or other agencies. This is their purpose and their job, and it is being criminalized, or they are being arrested by the people they are investigating.

It’s far more lucrative and safe to enter the world of marketing or something where you write puff pieces, or create TikToks all day. Investigative journalism is hard, expensive, takes time and may eventually land you in jail by the three lettered government agencies which are actually corrupt.

Training and nurturing journalism interns is not merely about maintaining a profession; it is about safeguarding our democracy. By upholding the high standards of journalistic ethics and practices, these future journalists ensure that the press remains a pillar of liberty and a watchdog for the public.

As we navigate the challenges posed by the digital age and social media, the role of well-trained journalists becomes even more indispensable. Echoing the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, a free and responsible press is indeed vital to the endurance and vitality of our democracy.

We are investing in our community and our country’s future one intern at a time

We have no idea how many apples are the result of one seed.

The first step is to break through the screen addiction of young people and convince them that there is life, purpose and importance beyond Tik Tok, and to walk beside them and help them discover how amazing they are and how amazing and vital the work they do for their community can be.

If you would like to donate to our nonprofit, you can send a check to Mentoring For Purpose or email [email protected].

We are developing our website which should be finished by July 1, 2024. We are so thankful for our readers and our advertisers. Thank you for your support.

 

Reader Comments(0)