ROBINSON: The big, bad fire-breathing ‘the media’ is a myth


This column by Amelia Robinson appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Nov. 15.

I’ve worked in newsrooms more than 20 years and I can tell you one fact you won’t find in a study or analyst: 99.9 percent of journalists are humans born to humans.

The so-called the media is not an enemy of the people. The media is not just of the people. The media is the people.

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“Fake news” is a slander that has been lobbied against the First Amendment in recent years.

“The media” might be even worse, because it implies that we “the media” walk in lock step with each other.

There is no “the media.”

Individual newsrooms themselves are or at least should be diverse places.

Moderates are in newsrooms. Conservatives are in newsrooms. Liberals are in newsrooms. People who are indifferent to politics are in newsrooms and are just there to eat donuts and tell good stories.

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The media is made up of people who are just like you, your friends or that dude down the street.

You might even have a member of “THE MEDIA” in your very own family. My family has two.

I mean, there are a lot of the Media, but far fewer than there used to be making the blood thirsty horde sort of an endangered species.

The number of overall newsroom employees dropped by 23 percent between 2008 to 2019, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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In 2008, there were about 114,000 reporters, editors, photographers and videographers working at newspapers, radio stations, broadcast televisions, cable and “other information services.” By 2019, that number had dropped to about 88,000.

At newspapers, where the number of journalists dropped by 51 percent during that time period: about 71,000 workers in 2008 to 35,000 a year ago.

Journalists do not always get it right. Journalists need to be held to a high standard. Journalists wield power.

That said, the vast majority of journalists get into the very tough industry for noble reasons.

To make a difference in their community.

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To make their mark in the name of liberty and justice.

To make sense of the world.

Amelia Robinson
Amelia Robinson

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Columnist Amelia Robinson is the the Dayton Daily News' community impact editor.