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Imagine a world in which journalism, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are nonexistent.

There would be no transparency and no legitimacy within our legal system, the individuals running it, and the people. Furthermore, there wouldn’t be a way to observe political corruption or check the limit of our government’s power and authority.

Without freedom of the press, we are essentially living in a legal system that acts without fear of being reprimanded by keeping us – the general public – in the dark. It is paramount to recognize that a public who is consistently informed and included in legal decisions is essential to the creation and the function of a successful democracy.

It is critical to acknowledge the importance of journalism and the news, its history and significance in the United States, and how it is ultimately a topic and a tool that is imperative to our society perhaps now more than ever. Without news, important information that could help people make decisions about their lives, their societies, their communities and most importantly, their government, is withheld.

Image via The Telegraph

The news has always played a detrimental watchdog role in the decisions and relationships between the government and the people. In fact, several of our nation’s most momentous events and discoveries in political history – such as Bernstein and Woodward’s investigation of Watergate and Seymour Hersh’s cover up of the My Lai Massacre- were brought to public attention through the research and investigations of the press. Without these investigations and ultimate discoveries, the level of secrecy between the government and its public would be colossal.

The  political climate in 2018 has become an era in which the legitimacy and the transparency of our current government’s legitimacy is being questioned and impugned. With the arrival of the Trump Administration also came the influx of “Fake News”. The President’s open lack of confidence in the press is essentially influencing people to reassess the facts and the information being reported to the public, and is thus helping force people to reconsider what is credible and what is false. Several broadcast networks and newspaper publications have taken a political stance within the battle of conservative vs. liberal support. However, even during these arduous times where the information – and the resources used to obtain such information – is being criticized and accused of political bias, the public must maintain observant of legitimate local, national, and international news in order to stay informed and included within their societies and their government. 

Image via The Medium

Steering away from the news is essentially steering away from acknowledging all of the things that are happening around us in the world. We often become uninterested in the events and decisions of our government without realizing that they could have a potential affect on us and the way we live our lives. By observing the events and the actions that surround us, we are essentially gaining knowledge on a local, national, and global level.

News is all around us and it affects the decisions we make on a daily basis. News helps us stay up to date with our government; specifically, it educates us about the most upcoming elections, the candidates running in them, and the policies theses candidates seek to implement. Watching and reading the news allows us to understand the context of everything that happens around us, which will in turn help us gain more knowledge and a desire to learn. Furthermore, we don’t just learn about elections and the upcoming candidacies through the news; we also learn of genocide, war, immigration, global warming, terrorism, war on drugs… the list goes on. Perhaps learning more about the obstacles that continue to besiege our society – especially in this political climate – will motivate us to become more aware and allow us to engage in something bigger than ourselves. 


Saira is currently a fourth-year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she is studying Sociology and pursuing a professional certificate in Journalism. Saira's ambition to work in the entertainment and journalism field after college is what originally sparked her interest in joining the Her Campus team.
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