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Journalism is a duty of honesty and integrity. A journalist must be able to uncover the truth no matter how unsettling or harsh because it is a part of their covenant. Readers must be presented with accurate information so they can be free-thinking and self-governing. This helps them make intelligent decisions for the betterment of their lives.
America is built on democracy, which is a concept that deems the people necessary in making decisions for a country or state’s hierarchy of needs. The root of democracy began during 570 BCE to 508 BCE comes from Cleisthenes of Athens, a statesman who believed that political responsibility should be placed on the citizens and not your position in a social group or clan. With this idea of participation from the people, Cleisthenes could get others with no political power to have a hand in what transpires in the community.
Superheroes are everywhere, and so are journalists, there are differences between the two, or maybe they are both one and the same. For example, in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man film, the character of Uncle Ben portrayed by the late Cliff Robertson has a conversation with Tobey Maguire’s character of Peter Parker, who is not yet Spider-Man. The two share a heart-to-heart where Robertson says his iconic quote, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter would then carry that lesson into his tenure as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
Journalists are responsible for providing communities with a proper and moral system of informative reports to raise awareness in the communities they serve. So with this in mind, they are granted great power, a power of which should not be abused. Spider-Man used his power to keep citizens safe and give them hope to know that someone was looking out for them.
Parker becomes a photojournalist for The Daily Bugle in Manhattan, giving him the chance to take pictures of the famous Spider-Man who had been buzzing all across New York for his heroics. Parker as Spider-Man would use crime-fighting as an opportunity to take photos of himself while in action. He would then return the pictures to the Daily Bugle and present them to his boss J-Jonah Jameson. Jameson considered Spider-Man a menace to society but had no proof of the accusations. Nevertheless, he took advantage of the opportunity because of the publicity he would get from printing Spider-Man in his newspaper.
The superhero would help cats out of trees, prevent train crashes and help older women get home safely. Getting his heroics on camera would help prove he was not a menace but rather a good Samaritan who climbed walls and shot webs from his hands. Parker utilized his advantages as spiderman to present the best possible heroism to the viewers, shaping their perspective of the web-slinger. As a result, they gave him the moniker of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
For a writer, you want to be known as a friendly neighborhood journalist. The advantages of the writer lie in their ability to build perspective, ask tough questions, and invite the community to achieve the answers. Overall, Parker used his gift responsibly but kept faithful to his duty as a journalist. He used both avenues to help people and positively inform them with his photos. He gave them both encouragement and comfort, knowing someone was watching them up above. He understood his responsibilities in his community, do you?
Superman redefines democratic excellence. A caped crusader who writes more than he whips through the skies. He was dedicated to the education of the communities and inner-city underbelly.
He writes for freedom of thought and liberty of voice. This is something he does twice over as a journalist and Superhero, not because of the image but because journalism is not only a job, it is a lifestyle.
Kanye West once said that “No one man can have all that power,” but I would argue no one writer can. Superman can fly, Leap skyscrapers, and run faster than the speed of sound. But it is not something he does for fun; he does it because it is necessary.
For a writer, what they report is necessary. Built upon a hierarchy of needs (things deemed as a necessity for life). The need for the truth must be included in this hierarchy. It challenges a reader to think critically and develop that into a routine. Information is also said to be power, and a person who truly wields their power wisely knows that it must not be used selfishly.
Journalists must be humble when providing Information that can change the trajectory of a person’s life. In other words, no ego should be involved, and the same goes for superheroes.
For Clark Kent, he was raised in Kansas by farmers in a small town. Some would say he was born to be a hero. He was brought up by hard-working parents who epitomized the American dream. Those lessons shaped him to be the iconic Superhero everyone knows and loves but contributed to his journalism, as he saw that as an Avenue to work hard and help others in a meaningful way.
These are all valuable traits, but what is most important about being a journalist is their voice. A writer may not be able to leap buildings and blow ice-cold air into the atmosphere, but they can tell candid stories that reach people with their voices. That is a journalist’s superpower, to speak the truth and nothing less.
With Great power comes great responsibility, but for a journalist, great power comes with greater responsibility. Journalists are responsible for holding themselves accountable when sharing Information that affects others. They are responsible for telling that truth and leaving bias and emotions out of the equation. This gives those who read their reports the ability to be free and self-governing, that is journalism.
This is a superpower, so use it wisely.
Opinion News by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Warner Bros. Pictures: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice Directed By; Zack Synder
Britannica: Cleisthenes of Athens; Greek statesman by; Russell Meiggs
Sony Pictures: Spider-man (2002) Directed by; Sam Raimi
Sony Pictures: Spider-man 3 (2007) Directed by; Sam Raimi
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of José María Pérez Nuñez’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Tom Simpson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Shannon Hauser’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License