“I want the truth.”
“You can’t handle the truth.”
Although one of the most iconic verbal exchanges in cinematic history took place between a young, hot shot lawyer (Tom Cruise), and an iron-fist ruling US Army colonel (Jack Nicholson) in the early 90s classic A Few Good Men, the words “I want the truth” are indeed important ones. First of all, it’s never a good idea to lie. Secondly, according to the last time I played Family Feud on Facebook, The Truth is more sought after and desirable than money, fame, and emotional and physical well-being.
With that said, here's a little logical reasoning for you: if The Truth is a palace, then Journalism is its gatekeeper.
Anyone can write a blog (at last check, the Internet provides room and board for over 156 million public blogs), and anyone with Web access can make their thoughts known through comment sections and web forums. While I applaud the opportunity Joe average has to make his words public, these types of submissions are often littered with inaccuracies and biases.
As I mentioned, I’m an advocate of free speech and the open avenues for it to live long and prosper. But there is a difference between writing and journalism. Hell, there’s even a difference between good writing and Journalism.
Case in point: Bartley Kives.
Kives is the preeminent journalistic figure of Winnipeg's civic political scene. His reports on the happenings at city hall are to be taken as truth, for they're balanced and fair. His opinion pieces, however, are to be taken with fine grains of salt.
Journalism is about immersing oneself in a situation, place, and/or event, dissecting information, misinformation, fact from fiction, and heaps of other circumstances, feelings, moods, groups, and individuals, before ever putting pen to paper.
The result should be a well-researched, coherent, and firmly balanced account of what happened, who was involved, and why.
Journalism is also about accountability. The public knows The Metro’s James Turner by the name most likely printed on his birth certificate, and not by an ambiguous username or blog handle. Why is this important? Because why would anyone believe the words of someone going by the moniker of UrbanDevil202 (a real blog title, actually.)
While A Few Good Men never spawned a straight-to-DVD sequel, if it did, I'm sure the Tom Cruise character, based on his appetite for the truth, would have left the courtroom for a career in the newsroom, where his best work would be pieces on Scientology and being 5'7".