“When the twin towers fell, when the first man walked on the moon, when President Kennedy was assassinated, we knew about it because of the mass media. In each of those examples, we all knew about it at once; it was a shared experience” (Kershner 13).
The most striking portion of the assigned Kershner reading, for me, was the section “The Role of News Media in America.” Particularly, I was fascinated with the idea that “the news media make us a community.” I think of the immediacy with which we receive news. Kershner references the first moonwalk, Kennedy’s assassination, and September 11 as examples, but I was not born during the former two and was young during the latter. I do remember the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden with startling accuracy, however. I remember needing to get to a room with cable to see the President’s speech. I remember the coverage of the mobs of people shouting and screaming outside the White House. Though I’ve never been deeply interested in politics, war, and killing, I was swept right into the psychology of the moment. The news media greatly effected my emotions at that moment, and I felt like I was one with all of America.
In the past, before the Civil war especially, this mentality would take a great deal of time to spread. Even then, the news media was the source behind the spreading. The rebellion that led to America’s independence would not have spread without publications like Tomas Paine’s Common Sense. This passage formed the connection between the three sections of the reading. The history of journalism is filled with community building and message spreading. In order for journalism to do so successfully and responsibly it must follow the guidelines set out in “Kershner’s Five Rules of Journalism.” Otherwise, the news will be ineffective, inaccurate, or most dangerous, biased. Because the news forms communities faster than ever before, bias will also spread dangerously fast. Creating news is, therefore, a great responsibility because of the history tested powers of the communities it creates.