By Sameera Khurana:
From front pages to homepages—the world of digital media and journalism has always managed to delve deep into my mind. What dazzles me the most is the power the media withholds in shaping the world we live in: culturally, socially and politically. Thus, I decided to attend a weeklong summer program in Lead America to live in the world of contemporary journalism.
Writing about the conference in retrospect, I suppose I can say I never expected the things that I experienced in that one week. I was absolutely blown away. I got the opportunity to uncover real stories and obtain a firsthand look at this evolving fast-paced field. I acquainted myself with the media landscape from digital age reporting to broadcast, new media and print. I was lucky enough to meet and learn from the leading journalists in the States, such as, Samuel G. Freedman, Amy Ellis Nut and Irving Washington.
Apart from publishing an online magazine with a group of exceptionally endowed aspiring journalists, I scored a three-day internship at the New York Film Academy where I was introduced to a real-time newsroom. By the end of the week, I realized the true essence of how the media shapes our reality, and how we can shape the media.
In Egyptian mythology, there existed an extremely unusual God named ‘Thoth’. He was often depicted with the head of an ibis, holding a scribe’s palette and stylus. He questioned the souls of the dead about their deeds in their life, before he weighed their heart against a feather to measure its pureness. In a way, he decided the soul’s fate for the rest of its existence. Samuel G. Freedman (The New York Times) openly declared that he considers Thoth as the ‘God of journalism’. Further explaining his analogy by using the quote “With great power, comes great responsibility” from Spiderman, he said that Thoth represents the moral mission of journalists. Just like him, journalists observe, analyze, evaluate and then act with integrity and accuracy to make an informed decision. And if they fail, democracy cannot function. Those two lines from his speech cemented the role of journalists in my soul.
Coming to my title—my faculty advisor, a sports writer for ESPN, was adamant about inscribing the following ‘fact’ in our minds: “Journalism is not dead; it’s just changing quickly.” He would make us repeat this line every time we started and concluded a group session. For me, news is extremely important and it can be told in no better medium than words. So in the near future, print newspapers might be doomed and extinct, but journalism as an industry is an in-demand commodity. All of us might be receiving our e-newspapers every morning, or viewing news stories in 3-dimension, the entire essence of journalism will remain the same.
Most importantly, since our generation never had to reminisce about the Sunday newspaper with a cup of coffee and toast, I feel the transition to digital media won’t be as drastic or difficult to cope with. To sum up, the intensive program taught me to embrace all forms of media and look at the world, and journalism from a completely different perspective.