I am Writing While Female, and when you are a woman, whatever you say, will always be seen as some sort of exaggeration or hysteria.
When I wrote When Journalism was a Thing, I used thousands of sources.
I read everything from legislation, think tank papers, annual reports, along with more academic articles than anyone should be expected to read in one lifetime.
I was literally holed up all day researching, and spent most of the night writing.
I had no assistant, or team of interns or academics working with me.
It was just me poring over reams and reams of data.
So, for example, when this paper was released, I not only read it line by line, but I verified every fact line by line. I could have written a book on every reason why this paper was absolute bunk.
When I was determining whether or not the quality of 60 Minutes was deteriorating, I didn't just ride on my opinion: I looked at studies, and I also went looking for a synopsis from their first broadcast to the latest, and aside from the fact I have seen most of them since the time I was a kid and even have transcripts of many of them, I took a sampling of the subjects and watched or read them, looking for how many information was in them, whether the segment was hard or soft news -- and whether they were promoting a book from Simon and Schuster, which is a subsidiary of CBS, the network that airs 60 Minutes.
When I was determining whether a news report came from a reporter's original research, or was cribbed from a PR firm's press release, I didn't make an educated guess. I looked to confirm or refute.
The book was not opinion spawned by social media. All you have to do is look at the reference section to see some of the sources I used.
The bulk of it came from my own analyses of various raw data that was used to determine if there was a journalistic breakdown, if so, what was the likely cause.
I looked at an obscene number of j-school syllabuses from several countries to see what was the course, the textbooks, and content of the courses.
I read thousands of news stories and columns.
And yet, I have people dismiss what I say with, "Well, it cannot be that bad!" or "That's your opinion."
It goes to show how media illiterate people have become that they do not see basic research and how it differs from opinion.
Actually, journalism is dead. It is no exaggeration. I presented in one book tens of thousands of tiny grains of facts to paint the picture. This is academic pointillism. Deal with it.
And it is in far worse condition than what I could put in a single volume of a book where I do have a word count limit.
So why do people have a hard time processing information that shows them reality?
It is the blinders of habit.
I liken it to people who endure a loveless marriage: once upon a time, you had two people truly in love with each other. They like each other's company, and they tie the knot. Hooray!
In the beginning of this cemented era of their union, they learn things about each other, they learn to mesh and coordinate, and they get into routines. Date night, dinner parties, coming to outings together at family get togethers...
Then come the new factor of children, and they form new habits. They are still together and firm up their work-home routine.
But as their attentions are deflected, and little bickerings begin to add up, they stop seeing the other with rose-coloured glasses. The weaknesses in the other and their relationship that they didn't see or were willing to overlook become more pronounced.
The bickering turns to flat-out arguments, and hurtful things are said as past transgressions are thrown in each other's faces. They endure things from each other that they would never put up with from strangers, or even friends and family.
They make-up, but it happens again. And again. Children start to act up, wanting more and more attention. The friendship and attraction begins to crumble. One or both yearn for a fresh start with affection, and have affairs to find it as they stick it to the other for not living up to the original dream or fantasy.
They are still legally married as they avoid each other by finding friends for outings and leisure or lessons to get out of the house. They sleep in separate beds, and lead separate lives. They do not vacation together, and are barely cordial to each other.
There is no more marriage to speak of anymore. You have a piece of paper. The two may live under the same roof and wear wedding rings, but you can get two strangers to wear gold bands, scribble their name on a piece of paper, and live in the same building, and if you ask whether they have some sort relationship with the other, the answer is "absolutely not."
And the children are grown, the couple no longer have anything to do with each other, and may even have new companions, but there is no marriage. Not anymore.
But if you were to ask them, they would insist there was a marriage, even if their spouse is a dislikable stranger to them, despite years with a marriage counsellor. That gold band and piece of paper tells them so. They went through some ritual, and long ago, they did love each other.
But it is a marriage in name only. Every quality of a marriage isn't present. No love. No support. No nurturing guidance. It is barren and empty, but because the couple still have their habits, they believe in something that no longer exists.
The blinders of habit deceive them of their reality.
And we can have two people never go through a ritual of a gold band and scribbling on paper, and be blissfully thriving with each other -- they have a marriage, which is a union. They are united, even as a married couple are merely going through the motions.
One couple gets it. The other pretends.
That's journalism. A dead profession in denial because they are merely going through the motions of habit.
They slop together garbage and think they are doing journalism.
People who still pick up a newspaper think they have journalism as they read garbage slopped together so badly that no reader remembers a damn thing or can make use of it.
I was never one to deceive herself. I have no trouble facing the truth, even if it is not something that makes me happy to do it.
So, no, there is no journalism. Just routines that do not serve any purpose but to keep the charade going.
That is the reality of the situation.
Do I think journalism can be brought back?
No. Just as the couple who can no longer stand the other could ever be made to like or love the other again.
I do believe in the alternative to journalism.
There is a big difference.
And that alternative is something I can finally work on in earnest given that I had some very scary things in my life that have taken away much of my time, but I dealt with them.
Because that's what needs to be done to get what we want...