By Kenny Sharpe
My dad always told me to “hit them hard against the nose. Then between the legs. And when they bend down in agony, knee them quick in the head.”
It would become my standard, go-to, mode of defence if, at any point during grades six through twelve up to and including today, I ever felt or feel threatened.
Then, when I moved to St. John’s, then Toronto, or visited other cities in between, I would stash my money and valuable cards in my sock as I walked.
“I was attacked once,” my dad told me, “and only for I had my money in my sock they would have taken everything I owned.”
As far as I’m concerned journalism is NOT under attack.
To be attacked is to feel threatened.
To feel threatened is to put your money in your sock.
My money is not in my sock.
It’s paying tuition at Ryerson’s School of Journalism to become a better journalist.
My money is paying rent in Toronto.
And when I can, my money goes towards that cheap bottle of red and can of Pabst Blue Ribbon that I’ve learned I can buy for an even ten.
The idea that journalism is under attack or is being threatened is misleading.
To feel threatened would be to give in.
I do not feel threatened.
You, should not feel threatened.
Journalism is not threatened.
The only thing “uncertain” about the industry right now is the future of privately owned print and broadcasting brands.
And whether or not the unrelenting challenges that the Internet increasingly puts on our profession will ever let up.
But during challenge comes change, and change is good.
Journalism is no more under threat today than it has been at any previous time during the challenges that so far have been the story of human history.
The story that journalists and journalism have always told.
Just because a person decides to call the work of journalists “fake” …
or decides to call journalists “enemies” of the people;
or bars journalists from having access to them;
or implies that strong, thriving and competitive journalism brands are “failing,”
… it doesn’t make those accusations true.
Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true.
And be certain that “saying something for long enough” … won’t … eventually make it true.
To separate what’s true from what’s false is part of the work of journalism.
Though hard to say for sure, it seems that only “alternative” truths can exist in the “fake,” “post-truth” realm that some are purporting.
What the hell does “post-truth” mean anyway?
Fake news? Please.
That’s the best they can do?
We live in a world where truth exists separately from wrong: the world of reality.
And as long as we remain in reality, it’ll be just fine.
We’ll be just fine.
Journalism as truth is fine.
When referring to this time as a “contentious time,” I challenge you to compare it to any other time of contentiousness, and ask yourself what you really mean when you call today contentious.
During contention comes argument and through argument ideas.
Ideas spur discussion and through discussion, change.
As we navigate the playing field that is the journalism of today let’s keep our change close-on-hand, and in our pockets.
We have a plan, and at this point we don’t need to hit, kick or knee any threat just yet.
What is journalism to me?
Journalism is not under attack and it is not threatened.
It’s more alive than ever.
That’s what it is to me.
I do not feel threatened…
… and neither should you.
All this talk is getting me down
Nothing’s making sense in my brain
I’m moving words in coarse of today
-From ‘Flutes’ by Hot Chip