So…Why does a democracy need journalism and the First Amendment???

I have been inspired by the Journalism 101 class I’m currently taking. The following essay consists of my own opinions fueled by what I have learned in that class so far. 😀 It is exactly 500 words ughhh….It was hard to shorten what I had originally wanted to say haha. Please don’t fall asleep or give up midway! >.<

To illustrate the essay= my govt. class textbook, journalism textbook, and a notebook with pen 😉


After thinking for a few minutes, Rachel turns to the boy next to her and leans her head towards his ear, cupping her hand around her mouth. “I like dogs but not cats, and my birthday is next week.” Aaron, the whole time she speaks rapidly into his ear, has his eyebrows furrowed, trying to understand and remember what she said. When Rachel is done, he smiles and whispers into Taylor’s ear, “I like songs but not Max, and my birthday is next week.” Taylor’s eyes go wide, he snickers, then tells Sarah, “I like socks on my dress, and I think boys are weak.” Five more exchanges go by. The message finally gets to the last person, who announces, “I have a huge crush on Edward, and doughnuts are overrated so I eat steak.”

Often times, like what happened in the Telephone Game scenario, people misinterpret, misunderstand, and even twist truths on purpose. The society has a never-ending need for truth; journalists can help name and frame the reality in their communities so that people can make decisions for themselves in life based on truth.

I believe that a democracy needs journalism and the First Amendment to sustain itself and survive economic trials. Since a democracy is a government by the people and for the people, each person should have the ability to communicate well with others. If the individuals within a democracy cannot manage to do so, the foundation of society would crumble. Communication is a crucial tool in life.

At the heart of every good-standing democracy are humans who work diligently to share opinions and are patient to listen to other values expressed around them. The First Amendment protects journalists in their sharing rights. Before senior year in high school, I had never thought of what career I wanted to pursue. There happened to be a Career Day for the high school students in the second semester. It was mandatory for each of us to shadow a person who held a profession we were interested in. I told my parents about my dilemma. “Well, you like to write, right?” my dad asked. He suggested that I shadow a FOX News reporter friend. I laughed inside. No way would I ever be interested in talking on T.V. for anything. After going through with the shadowing and seeing parts of the FOX41 studio, although I still wasn’t convinced to be a broadcaster, I was inspired to become a journalist. I realized that there is a great need every day for citizens to know and be aware about what happens around them. I wanted to contribute to that cause. I could incorporate my writing skills in articles for a personal touch. As long as authors and reporters continue to display a creative, informative and truthful spirit, people will continue to be engaged in what others have to say. Journalism itself is defended by the First Amendment, and the First Amendment helps make up the base of the U.S. democracy’s values.


On Journalism



1.      Now, tell me again, what is your definition of journalism?

~Journalism is an art of communication that lets people know about truth that is around them and encourages them share it with others.

2.      How many different models of journalism exist today?

~Public and Civic Journalism are the most popular today. The aim is to solve problems in the community, and with the U.S. economy not doing so well, more journalists are needed to help find and share solutions. Broadcasting online or on T.V. stations is a good example of letting the public know what kinds of problems need to be solved.

On Democracy

3.      What is your definition of democracy?

~I think a democracy is a type of government which holds true to the fact that it should exist for the people and be run by the people.

4.      What is the difference between “election politics” and “public politics”?

~Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with both of these terms, so please bear with me here. Election politics, in my opinion, deals with potential candidates and the process of the endless races to gain public recognition and a place in a seat of power and authority, whether if it’s in the U.S. government, a position in a university, or something else. I think public politics is all about the community, the opinions expressed and principles introduced and how people deal with them. Forgive me if I am totally off; I am clearly not a fan of politics. ^^

5.      What was the Lippmann v. Dewey debate?

~In 1922, two men debated on the role of citizens in the democracy. Lippmann thought a democracy that placed excessive power in the hands of the “mindless” public was too risky and dangerous. Instead, he argued that political representatives (and their advisors) should be the leaders mainly relied on in society based on their experience and expertise. Dewey thought public participation, opinions and input was very crucial to a society. He believed that it was possible, but not easy, to get the public to learn how to live, work and learn amongst and alongside each other. The main point of this debate was to argue if the democracy’s public had the ability to govern itself or not. This question is still raised in debates today.

On the First Amendment



6.      What does the First Amendment say exactly?

~ “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

7.      Are any of these protections important in your life?

Yes, certainly. I am a Christian, and I want to be able to practice my religious rights freely without oppression. The right to assemble can go along with that. There are other countries that don’t allow people to do that, and for that, I’m blessed to be living in America and be protected under the First Amendment. I want to be a journalist, so, of course the rights of speech and press will be far more important in my life in the near future than it might be now.

On Diversity

8.      Everybody keeps talking about diversity: Why is diversity in religion, speech, assembly and petition so important to a democracy?

~People must learn how to work together if they are to live peacefully with each other. Diversity can put the patience and sense of judgment of a person through trials. I think diversity is a big factor in testing how well a democracy can hold itself together and flourish.


Again, I want to remind everyone that this is an OPINION essay. Forgive me of my fail at expressing myself with eloquence! Please comment but no bashing of any kind! 😀 It would be best if comments were restricted to responding to the content  rather than the structural aspects of the essay, because this post will stay the way it is. But! even more so, what do YOU think about the question being presented?  Thank ye~


15 thoughts on “So…Why does a democracy need journalism and the First Amendment???

  1. Ahhhh… I love your Telephone Game analogy. I don’t really know what you want commenting on, but I can be more coherent in the morning. 🙂 Just felt like saying that your writing style is pretty much flawless and fun to read 🙂

  2. This might be completely random. But, the other day, I was reading news about “freedom of speech”, where an anti-military family would protest outside of soldiers’ funerals, causing a disturbance
    and, upon trying to remove this family, the family of the soldier was actually sued and forced to cough up some major money because they were just exerting their “freedom of speech”
    i think, personally, that there is a line to be drawn
    i mean, sure, we can speak what we think, because that’s our right. and we should exercise that right freely, by all means. however, just because we have the power to do something potentially damaging to someone else doesn’t mean we should go ahead an do it
    i’m not really sure where i’m going with this
    the point is . . . that there’s a lot to be pondered on about on this subject . . .

  3. The ‘Telephone Game’ analogy is very effective. Im not normally one to read long passages, but that caught my attention. Very good!

    Recently, I have a hard time differentiating between the journalists and the paparazzi. I would really like to thank you, as this article has helped remind me that there are VAST differences. In my opinion, if the true journalists in the media were to keep doing what they do best, and the paparazzi were to pack up and go home, we would all be better off.

  4. LIke it! but perhaps change the first sentence.. the analogy is awesome, but at the moment, starting IN the analogy, it seems like you’re writing a story… I had to double check up to see if you’re doing a short story or what… anyhow, maybe you should start with something along the lines of “consider the game of telephone” or something… but over all it’s GOOD 😀

  5. Not bad. Your essay is quite easy to read. 🙂 feedback:

    Be careful not to generalize: para. 2 “society has a never-ending need for truth” (Explain why.)

    para 3: the link between lack of communication and society crumbling is a bit weak. It’s a bit like a slippery slope. (fallacy)

    Formal or informal tone: is your story about how you decided on Journalism really relevant? haha, I don’t know, cuz over here, we are not allowed to use our own experiences to explain something cuz it’s subjective. If your tone is expected to be formal, then both your experience and the telephone game analogy maaaay be considered a bit trivial. But if informal tone is okay, then the telephone game analogy is okay.

    Remember to explain ALL your claims and support ALL our claims with evidence. para 3, you didn’t explain the “economic trial” part. Why would communication help a country to survive?

    hahaha, I’m going into my “English tutor mode”.(I tutored a girl in English during my 8 months break.) Just remember to have a point, an explanation, and an example in every paragraph. (e.g. You didn’t really explain your point in qn8. I’m assuming that it’s part of your assignment.) And try to make each paragraph similar lengths.

  6. I know you didn’t want structural comments, but don’t you think that writing well is just as important to journalism as giving out information? I just feel like you don’t sound very professional and there are some little grammatical things that aren’t right. However, I think the analogy worked well–it tricked me at first haha, I thought you were going off on a silly story 😉

  7. The beginning kind of threw me off, but it made sense once I realized that it was an analogy/narrative introduction. The telephone analogy was a great connection, but you didn’t talk too much about it. You might want to go into more depth since you used a whole paragraph to tell that story.

    You should support some of your claims, since you assume a lot about democracy and the nature of people.

    In the second paragraph, shouldn’t it just be “Society has a never-ending need…”. I didn’t find the word “The” (before “society”) necessary. Might be just me though, if it’s proper grammar to use “The society”, then I’m sorry for my mistake.

    For Q&A question 4, you might want to do some research and then express your opinion, rather than say you are unsure of what they are. You could still say that you are unsure, but be more assertive that you have *some* idea of what they are; it seemed, to me, like you said you were clueless about both of them.

    For Q&A questions 4, 5, and 6, are they asking just for the facts? It’s an opinion essay, so… Anyways, you did give your opinion somewhat for questions 4 and 5, but maybe emphasize more on what you think of them or why they’re import to journalism. For question 6, is it just asking for exactly what it says as it is written, or exactly what it says in your own words?

    The tone was good; it was easy to read. In fact, it was almost fun to read. Definitely not boring. Giving it a more personal feel with personal stories was a good idea.

    I’m not bashing (sorry if it seems that way), just trying to help. Sorry if I hurt you in any way. I’m bad at constructive criticism, I think. But the article was good, I liked it.

    Looking back, you said not to comment on the structural aspects of it, so you can ignore this is you want.

  8. the idea was good, and i could see where u were trying to go with the telephone analogy, but i think it could throw some people off at first. you should also try to find out some more imformation on certain topics. this would be especially important in Q #4. since you are unfimiliar with these terms, it seems as if you weren’t completely dedicated to this essay. you should not be afraid of expressing your own opinion in these questions

  9. Working with the telephone analogy, if the truth is the first person, and you are the receiver trying to hear the truth, I think that journalism would be all the people in between, instead of, if what I think might be what your trying to say is what your saying, that journalism is something else outside that helps to clarify things (did that make any sense at all? x]). They take what they hear and interpret it in their own ways. All the different opinions and interpretations twist and have a different take on the truth. I’m not saying journalism is bad, it’s just that one has to take in all the different perspectives and then make one’s own judgement based on the collection of views. And then, the first amendment is there to protect all the different points of view so that we get all the prespectives out there (even the crazy extreme ones….but then you decide for yourslef what is considered “extreme”).

    …is that what your looking for? did i help and contribute to the poor freshie’s assigment? x]

  10. mmm the organization is interesting. is the Q&A part of the essay? or is that a way to organize ur thoughts? My style of writing is much more dry and analytical. and ur article highlights the importance of democracy both personally and impersonally. I think as long as you’ve talked to your professor (or know from the feel of the class) that this format and style is acceptable for your paper you’ll do great.

    and you have excellent voice in your paper, definitely digged the anecdote/intro 😀

  11. I like the beginning, but I get lost at the exact reason why you’re writing the essay (perhaps you can make a stronger thesis statement and more support for the thesis). Just an idea of what was going through my head when I read this was: Okay, this is about the distortion of information through media. Now we see that the 1st Amendment and journalism goes hand in hand…now is she informing me why she wanted to do journalism? So I was a little unsure of exactly what the main idea of the essay was. The most memorable part was the part where you put the most emphasis and that was your personal experience and how that inspired you to want to do journalism. It stuck with me because it was personal and it made up a large portion of the essay. So I feel that if you could take that personal experience and really drive the main idea home it would make for a more focussed essay. Take it for what it’s worth…I’m a merely an engineer that writes technical papers with no creativity and barely any words. Otherwise, good job, it wasn’t tedious to get through either 🙂

  12. This essay is well written. Though, are you aiming for a more professional or conversational tone?
    As for the body, your essay seems a bit lacking. You only give one reason as to why democracy needs journalism and the First Ammendment. I also felt as if you kept reiterating the same idea over and over again, just using different words. The examples you provide should also be concrete and not a “blanket statement”. Here’s a quote from your paper:
    ‘I believe that a democracy needs journalism and the First Amendment to sustain itself and survive economic trials.’
    Okay, the question that enters my mind is HOW? How does journalism and the First Ammendment contribute to “surviving economic trials”?
    All your statements need to be supported and less vague.
    Sorry if I sounded harsh. The part of the paper that I really like was the analogy,though that was a bit lengthy. It had an appealing catch to it though. I felt like I was reading something enjoyable rather than a boring essay.

    If you’re wondering who this meanine is, I bet you can guess.

    Good luck in journalism sis!

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