Letter: How did the media blow it?

I have been a journalist for 30 years who has been in newsrooms where managers like to shake it up, be it beats or new reporters.

Politics are no different.

We want change: a different channel, a different tune, a better cell phone. Eight years for one guy, another four or eight for another. It is the American way.

The Democrats have their turn, the Republicans theirs. And we journalists sit in our isolated worlds and are shocked when people change their minds.

We try to read the tea leaves, but sometimes we just get bit in the butt. The polls become our gods.

The scary thing is that the world is getting a lot more complex than we give it credit for. And we as a diminishing number of actually reporting reporters who are losing the battle in trying to keep up.

As we tweet, post video, and go on air as experts, people out in the hinterlands tell their story to no one. We blog, pontificate, and try to persuade. But we do not do what journalists of the past did: Hit the streets and listen to what folks are saying.

Now many just filter what we hear through our preconceived notions.

That is not old-school journalism. That is the journalism of today. WikiLeaks is an indictment of today’s journalism. Helping the candidates? Our old-school journalism teachers would be appalled and give us an F.

Lazy journalists will finally awake. Only because they want to bury the new guy. Because he is not their guy.

A student asked me the morning after the election: How can a journalist be objective when his or her candidate loses?

You remember the First Amendment. It is sacred. But today’s journalists have trashed it, their readers, and American citizens.

Maybe after this election journalists will finally remember our duty to it.

Bill McMillan, adjunct instructor

Wayne State University