Journalism is not dead

The 2012 Pulitzer winners show how vibrant the field of journalism still is.

Daily Editorial Board

 

 

It’s a great week in journalism when the newest Pulitzer Prize winners are named. The 2012 winners were announced Monday with several prizes going to The New York Times as usual but also to some less mainstream publications like the Huffington Post.

For aspiring journalists, seeing the work of the winners leads to a lot of head-nodding. This is the good stuff. And it’s not just stuffy, pretentious dailies; it includes alt-weeklies and online publications. The message is clear: Good journalism is still out there.

Journalism’s No. 1 goal is to seek truth and report it. The “seek” part is key: In addition to writing about the day’s events, journalists have to step into controversy for the sake of their readers. In a democracy, journalists are a check on power who ensure a level playing field and prevent the everyday citizen from being taken advantage of. Because the powerful members of society have the ability to control discourse, it’s journalists’ job to dig deep to expose falsehoods and corruption.

It’s also the role of journalists to tell important stories and inform the public. While covering regulating bodies keeps the powerful accountable, the really important stories are rarely found by talking to people with important titles. What’s important is communicating what it means to be human right now.

Those stories aren’t found in superficial celebrity “news” or blogs that only serve a certain interest group. That’s why professional journalism, even as what that term means is changing, remains vital to the health of this country. Based on the Pulitzer Prizes handed out this year, it’s clear there are plenty of stories left to tell. We implore you to find the good stuff, and read it. And if we ever don’t hold ourselves to that standard, we need you to tell us.