The wusses of journalism

Posted: April 5, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

Temple University has determined that its journalism graduates are having a tough time.

In an announcement, the administration said: “[W]e are seeing an increase in our journalism graduates go into their first jobs and leave before their first contracts are up. Some of our alumni are telling us they just weren’t prepared for the stress and the challenges they are facing.

“We all know it’s always been difficult to adjust to those first years in the field, but between the pandemic and a growing number of people who think journalists are ‘fake news,’ in addition to many other new challenges, we are losing some of our best potential journalists.”

I am admittedly old school. But I’m amazed at how journalism graduates and current practitioners have become wusses.

In my first few years in journalism, I covered demonstrations, terrorist attacks, a civil war, and mass murder.

I am not alone in my amazement. New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg called his younger colleagues “little dweebs” and “f—ing bitches” for “going on about their trauma” from the events on January 6, 2021.

In a hidden-camera video, Rosenberg called the mainstream media’s reaction to the events “over the top.”

He joked, “I know, I’m supposed to be traumatized.”

During much of my career in training journalists, I assigned students to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city to find stories that demonstrated the true nature of the locales.

My colleague Linn Washington, a longtime Philadelphia journalist, and I created Philadelphia Neighborhoods, an award-winning news organization.

From 2007 to 2013, our students told the stories of poor neighborhoods throughout the city, providing a much subtler view of how people—whatever their income and education—just wanted to have safe streets, a future for their children, and a way to make a good living.

The experience also toughened up student journalists who had rarely strayed outside of their comfort zone.

I’m not entirely sure what happened in the past decade, but I am saddened that some journalism students at Temple, which has a motto of “Temple Tough,” have gotten soft.

But what has happened at Temple is indicative of what has happened in much of the news media.

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