Intellectual prostitute

by Imran Suhail

John Swinton, former chief of staff at the New York Times once said, “We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities, and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”
I offer this quote to the freshman looking to have a career in journalism. Journalism is not a field to express yourself.
This is a career for those willing to work with big corporations, who invest a lot of money into media and want to see a return from the investment.
The concentration of media ownership has resulted in a system that will crush the dreams of any aspiring journalist.
I would like to say this is a recent development, but it’s not. The quote above, first uttered by Swinton, was during a journalists’ gathering in New York City, April 12, 1893.
I sat down with a few students, none of which were communication majors, to get their opinions on the mainstream news media.
I chose not to pick anyone from communications because they have biased opinions when it comes to the media industry.
I asked Omijah Piening, a 21 year old radio technology major, where he gets his news from.
He said, “I prefer independent news, it seems the mainstream sways to whomever is publishing it.”
The ten students I asked this same question to, seven responded the same as Piening.
I followed up by asking, “Why do you think people continue to follow the mainstream media?”
He responded, “It’s hard to break the cycle of hearing your everyday news.”
The three students who still prefer mainstream media claim that they always are present and covering the news they care about.
Alternative media is typically harder to find and not as accessible. The three students feel that mainstream sources are more credible and are more comfortable quoting information from them, rather than lesser known alternatives.
No matter your intent, you cannot win in this field. Either, you will end up working for a conglomerates, always coming second to the interests of investors, or working with some alternative publication.
You can try and take the Internet by storm through social media, but then you’re just another blogger in a sea of millions.

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