Society doesn’t give the field of journalism enough credit. Journalists work to present the truth, inform the public of information and help tell the stories of the people. It’s kind of a big deal.
In the same way a graduating nursing student is ready to help a person in need or an aviation major is excited to get in the air, I’m excited about anything journalism—which is a good thing since it’s my major and I’ve spent the last four years of my life working on the third floor of the James Building to help contribute to this newspaper.
When “Spotlight,” a film about investigative journalism, won the Oscar for Best Picture this year, I filled my Twitter with tons of retweets of the win because, for me, that was bigger news to me than Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar.
Recently, more than 300 journalists from more than 100 news organizations worldwide sifted through 11 million leaked documents. It was reported that Mossack Fonseca & Co., a Panamanian law firm, allegedly assisted world leaders, politicians, businessmen and celebrities in establishing offshore accounts and shell companies to help them hide and launder money.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of investigative journalists who teamed up with other journalists and news organizations to compile the project known as “The Panama Papers.”
The ICIJ reported some companies using offshore tax havens were accused of supplying fuel to the Syrian air force that killed 21,000 civilians. Although in 2014, many governments including the U.K. government and the U.S. Treasury issued sanctions against the companies involved, the ICIJ reported that the firm allegedly helped the companies operate.
The Panama Papers is a huge step in collaborative journalism. Big enough that the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, announced he was stepping down in the midst of protests and calls for his resignation after the Panama Papers revealed his ties to an offshore company. When a world leader is forced to resign from his job because of journalists working hard to expose the truth, it’s huge.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is well-aware of national and international events. However, he didn’t seem to think the story of the leak should be a story. He felt as if it wasn’t news that rich people had offshore accounts. While I respect him and his opinion, I disagree. I realized it’s because I’m obviously biased toward my love of story-telling and informing the public through journalism. I am extremely proud of my field and journalists for working together and doing their duty by exposing the truth.
When the journalism field uncovers the next big story, think of the hardworking journalists who don’t seek credit, and who stay up late to tirelessly gather information. Think of the journalists who trys to inform the world about the events of the world. Think of the journalists who genuinely seek to make a difference in society. I’m proud to be considered one.