The term emotional rollercoaster is wildly overused, and probably implies a much deeper and more ground shaking set of events than I’ve actually experienced these last few days, but the up and down has been fairly spectacular. At least for me.
With the News of the World hacking scandal and it’s subsequent shut down, there was that feeling you get sometimes of just being totally disgusted and let down. Sure they’re journalists and we don’t expect them to be the guardians of our rights and democracy anymore… but that was sick, even by modern standards, and the noise made by an angry public left no doubt we were all sickened by it. Now, there are arguments about the closing of the newspaper (it was making a butt-load of money after all) and the entire enterprize being used as a scapegoat for higher-ups etc. All that is possible, hell, it might even be likely, but getting the public sentimental about the closing was always a long shot. I, personally, don’t care. If more people hold responsibility, then yeah, track them down and nail them to the wall too, but I can’t bring myself to feel back the bloody thing is gone.
While all that was going on, I stumbled on a really old interview with the founder of the Huffington Post, which I admit I didn’t know a darn thing about. I’ll point out here than when I started explaining this bit to my dad, he snorted at me, he’s known about the HuffPo for a while apparently. In any event they interviewed its founder, a nice enough seeming woman, if a bit rough around the edges. The whole thing was started on the grounds of journalistic integrity, the writers weren’t even paid! They answered to no one, there would be complete transparency, they could print the truth without worrying about the purse (because there wasn’t one) and their fearless leader would drive them on. By this point in my childish glow of vindication that not everyone is a complete tool, I was inwardly rejoicing! Then I made the mistake of doing some googling… everything always seems to go downhill at that point doesn’t it?
HuffPo is having its own issues right now. AOL bought the company for a truly mind-blowing amount of money (at least to a girl who lives in an overcrowded three bedroom house in Australia’s most minor major city). Seem’s they’ve just fired someone for what they call ‘repacking’. In perfect honesty that’s pretty close to what I do here really. I find something online that’s interesting, write a bit about it, give my opinion on it and some choice info, then the idea is that I give the links to the original material thus driving all you lovely viewers to those sites to get the goss from the source. That last bit was where HuffPo was falling down. Unfortunately some ex-employees have come forward saying that what this particular writer was fired for, was in fact company policy, it’s just that in her case someone complained and they didn’t want the bad press, hence the chop.
There’s the belly dropping downhill run again. I was excited, I was elated, I was half way to clicking that little ‘careers’ link at the bottom of the HuffPo webpage to beg to be a part of the revolu… oh wait. Damn it! Once again I find myself sitting in my livingroom, watching my daughter build towers of blocks and pretend to be a kitty and wondering why everyone sucks so bad!
When I took psych 101, (my first subject at Uni, well, the first one I finished anyway) they talked about a kind of depression that’s becoming common with young graduates. Specifically those that go into journalism. We grow up reading about Watergate, about war-time journalism, about fearless men and women who uncovered what was hidden from us and made it know! They brought down the wicked, stuck it to the man and we were going to join their ranks! Then they walk into the office on their first day and discover that they are no longer the gatekeepers of public discourse… they’re glorified PR copy writers, repacking the media releases of major organisations and rehashing what’s already appeared in the blogosphere… Enter spiraling depression.
In the wake of all this we’ve got politicians pounding the pulpits talking about raining in a media gone mad! God help me for half a second I almost agreed with them. Yes, this has been a disgusting and disheartening episode, and yeah I want someone’s head to roll, but a bit of whoosaaa and a couple of breathing exercises and I begin to worry about the obvious issues… God, the last thing we need is to go from this to government controlled media! In government controlled media, no Watergate. No Climate Gate. No reporting of our leaders doing shonky garbage. I’m an idealist. I can’t help it. I want the democrats to ‘keep the bastards honest’, I want Doctors who’ll stop at roadside accidents and yes, I want journalists who’ll uncover corruption, protect my interests and ensure that nothing that shouldn’t be hidden from me is! I suppose I want heroes, proper ones… each in their own field and their own way, but every time I get my hopes up I’m a little more disappointed than I was the last time.