The following is a post written for my school’s student blog. In light of my departure as editor of the blog, I thought it’d be fitting to publish this particular article here at Life in Pixels: a message, of sorts, to the next leaders of that blog, of the challenges they face in this new age of journalism the world is experiencing. Read the original post here.
These are dangerous times that we live in, my friends. The Age of the Internet may be the magic we’ve sought after for aeons, that one thread of binary that keeps us connected across oceans, but there’s a darker, more sinister side to it. George Orwell accurately described the consequence of our age, transcending from a utopian to a dystopian future, in his harrowing and age-defining novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The all-prevailing “Big Brother” has full control over the masses, and can manipulate their thoughts and ideas, effectively their entire belief systems, entirely through the effective use of media.
As budding journalists for a new magazine, we as the Editorial Team of The Echo have a great responsibility on our hands, as informers to you, the student body, of the happenings in and around our campus. Our opinions, our ideas, the words that we write, have in some way an influence upon you – just as the modern media in the “world out there” has enormous control over the public.
In the rapid world of modern journalism – controlled largely by the high velocity of the Social Web – authenticity is the all-encompassing goal. That goal is the core value that we strive for in the content we publish. Our fundamental aim as writers in this new age is to ensure a level of quality, original content that differentiates us from the masses, most of whom find it blasé to regurgitate that which has already been written by others.
The scourge of plagiarism in today’s Social Web-era is more prevalent than ever. For us, writers that are concerned with producing quality, original content, there is a feeling of injustice being committed when we see our writing reproduced in the guise of others. Perhaps this all whittles down to the nucleus of the problem: the sense of integrity that seems to be a commodity in this fast world. Content that is rehashed can now be argued as being “syndicated” in a sense.
At the end of the day, it is the reader who is left in the void of uncertainty, and it is the word thief who has committed the greatest crime of information-sharing. It is now not the original writer who has the responsibility of discernment: the copied words, placed in different context, have the power to influence the public in a manner unintended for by the original creator. Thus, the role of Big Brother is distorted, and in the broader scope of the digital age, an enormity of unprecedented proportions has the potential to envelop our world.
As young writers, we have quite a task on our hands. But we stand strong in the pillars of integrity that bind this blog, and the content on it, and I am confident that it is this defining attribute that will manifest us as crafters of a new age in journalism.