When I was a toddler, I got stung by a bee on my right hand. It was a very traumatic experience for a 3-year-old child to have something so small and innocent cause so much pain. This is one of the many reasons children choose to run and scream when they stumble across one of these stinging creatures, instead of embracing them like a cute puppy.
As I got older, I learned from school and Jerry Seinfeld that bees have an important relationship with our environment. Little did I know two decades ago, this lesson would connect to me as a journalism student.
As a journalist I’m not allowed to express opinions about the news. But when the notion of harming journalists continues to be normalized, it’s past time for us in the crosshairs to speak up — for the colleagues we’ve lost and for those who fear seeking truth means we’ll be next.
— Mike Sisak (@mikesisak) October 14, 2019
Journalists and bees share a very similar job; to take, produce and distribute things that are important and valuable to society. For bees, they’re responsible for pollination, which is one of the components that keep plants alive, while journalists are responsible for distributing important information to the public.
Many people are afraid of bees and journalists, even though their purpose is not to cause harm, but in many cases, both need to take proper measures to get their jobs done.
This was a great week for a free press. The reporting by @jkbjournalist for the @MiamiHerald led to the Epstein indictment and the Acosta resignation. Journalists are enemies of the people only for the people who fear the truth.
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) July 12, 2019
Throughout my time as a journalism student, I have had many experiences where even on my own campus, I tell someone “I work for the school paper,” only to hear the most outrageous excuse as to why a college student cannot answer a basic question about social media.
I picture it the same way as Ross Geller from “Friends” telling his date that he’s been divorced three times.
Many people think all journalists are “out to get someone” or to bring down the government, which I believe is the true definition of “fake news.” As a result of this term going viral after the 2016 presidential election, society has lost a lot of faith in journalists, even those with outstanding reputations.
It is very understandable why many people are afraid to trust us with their stories because they want to make sure they are being told the right way.
Journalists are here to amplify the voices of society and strive to give an unbiased perspective when important events occur. Without these curious creatures, there would be no one to question facts as they are presented.
When government officials brief the public on a tragedy that just occurred, a majority of the public just accept it and move on with their lives. Journalists are the first to ask important questions to tell the world what really happened.
In other countries, especially in the Middle East, journalism is condemned and only practiced by those who are chosen by the government. Meanwhile, in countries like China and North Korea, the media is censored and completely controlled by the government to ensure that only the information they want to be released gets distributed to the public.
As Americans living in a country where the freedoms of speech and press are guaranteed to every citizen, we need to value and appreciate the hard work that journalists do for us. This is especially important because there are those who are not as privileged in having access to the same important information we provide.
"Media freedom represents the right of journalists to cover issues of public interest, freely, independently and without fear of retaliation".
What does media freedom mean to you?
w/ @barbara_trionfi of @globalfreemedia at @WFDemocracy #CoE_WFD #DefendMediaFreedom pic.twitter.com/UxsBFFfECE
— CoE Media Freedom (@CoEMediaFreedom) November 8, 2019
Me telling the world not to fear journalists the same way parents tell children not to fear bees is one the most hypocritical things I could say, considering I swat away anything with more than four legs. However, I can promise that both journalists and bees are making more positive contributions to your lives, rather than being a nuisance in your everyday activities.