It is not your “personal truth.” It is your personal reality. No one owns the Truth. Understanding Truth, Perception, and the Nature of Reality.

A couple of years ago, I was actively writing for my experimental Matriarchal storytelling venture A Dangerous Woman Story Studio. I am still at it, but everything is on hiatus while I am working on my forthcoming traditionally-published nonfiction book When Journalism Was a Thing.

Mostly short stories that interlocked, I did write a few novels — and one massive tome.

Clocking in at almost 1600 pages, this is the feminist War and Peace, and by far, the book that is the favourite fiction story I ever wrote.

Dr. Verity Lake’s Journey of a Thousand Revelations.

dvljoatr
The favourite…

The story begins in the late 1930s and spans about a decade of her life. She is an eccentric and enigmatic experimental psychologist living in a very liberated city-state, where her are of study is Truth, Perception, and the Nature of Reality.

Like all of my characters, I studied and researched every area of their specialities. Verity Lake’s speciality began as my undergraduate thesis when I was a psych student at McMaster University. I was studying psychoacoustics — how we perceive sound versus the reality of the actual sound.

Because how we perceive sound is very different to its reality.

And that fact I stumbled upon as a teenager when my ears were bandaged up for a few weeks, and when that thick padding came off, sound was not the smooth and ordered sense I had known all my life.

It was chaotic, with echos and disjointed bouncing of chords.

Everything sounded tinny and repetitive until suddenly my brain remembered how to deceive me, and pulled those chords together and the experience was gone.

But not the memory of it.

It was a revelation that our perceptions of reality was not reality itself.

And then I spent years experimenting with perceptions and reality.

It helped that I also was a fan of stage magic. I developed a new appreciation of how magic tricks take advantage of our limited and faulty perceptions — and our base assumptions that we somehow perceive reality as it is.

It’s not even close.

Studies have been done to show how one person perceives a certain colour isn’t the same across the board — what may be blue to you, may be perceived as green to someone else.

You can even trick people into hearing the wrong words, depending on how they see someone’s lips move. Show a video of someone saying “Pa Pa”, but have an audio of “Da Da”, and they will most likely “hear” “Pa Pa”.

That’s the reality of how we perceive reality.

Because we are never taught to question our perceptions of reality. People become offended and think that you are accusing them of being “crazy” if you ask, “Are you certain of your perceptions?”

Dr. Lake is a recurring character in her younger sister Holly’s non-lethal mystery short stories, but I liked Verity so much, that I spun her off in not just her own novel, but in other stories as well. She is a character who is versatile as both a main character and a supporting one.

She can always find a place in stories because she is all about knowing the difference between perception and reality, and also truth and reality. She understands the difference between what is absolute and what is relative.

Verity has her lifelong quest of uncovering all of the deepest truths of the universe, and while this was supposed to be a comical throwaway catchphrase with her, I owed it to her to dig deeper and explore that concept.

As a journalist, I understood that perception was never reality. People perceived reality, and then they interpreted reality. They never really tested to see if their perceptions of reality aligned with the real thing.

And it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I had no trouble discovering how perceptions could deceive or be tricked. Animals have a better sense of hearing than do people — so I would try out games with my pets to understand what they heard, how they heard it, and what, in the most crudest sense, what their thoughts and feelings were on the matter.

Were they curious? Angry? Scared? Happy? Did they retain information? What if it was the same stimulus, but activated slightly differently?

But that’s basic sensory reality. There is also livable reality of our mundane everyday lives. Life comes easy to some, but hard to others, for instance. They have two different realities.

But often, you hear people talking about their “own personal truths.” No, you are not talking about truth; you mean your own personal reality. When you are rich and healthy, you have a different reality than when you are poor.

Yes, absolutely.

But how the two perceive that reality can be very different. The rich person may think they are superior, even if they were merely born into money, but the poor person make also think he is superior because he knows how to survive even without the benefits of money.

The rich person may think he is suffering and unlucky, while the poor person may think he is blessed.

This is their interpretation of their reality, but neither is actually looking at the truth.

Truth is universal. It is an egalitarian concept that is universal and eternal. There is no ownership of Truth. Truths are deep, and they are chaotic.

Truths are hard to find, especially if you take your perceptions of reality for granted, and prefer to lure of lies to validate or placate you.

Reality is situational. One moment, you may be a billionaire, and the next, you are in prison being tortured.

Your reality has changed, but the Truth that money is not the foolproof fortress to protect you from all harm stays the same. It applies to the rich person as it does to the poor.

You cannot manipulate the truth. Your truth is not better or different than anyone else’s truth. It is often a weasel phrase people employ when they know there may be a weakness in their narrative, and are using a pre-emptive strike: Well, that may not be what actually happened, but I perceived it to be as such; ergo, this is my truth.

No, it’s not your “personal” truth. That is your interpretation of reality.

Reality is tangible. It aligns with the truth, and can reveal truths, but as reality is relative and changes, it is a path to truth, not the truth itself.

I always found it baffling that j-schools never studied the differences among truth, reality, perception, and interpretation. If your job is to expose reality, then you ought to know what reality is all about and why you need to reveal it to people.

There should have been a journalistic and empirical science on it, but it never happened. I have pointed this deficit out to more than one academic institution, only to be tersely dismissed.

But there is an absolute need for it. How someone carries himself and dresses alters his reality, but if he is a grifter, the truth is that he will never deliver what he promised, and as he takes away resources from his victims, there will be deficits that will drag others down.

It is this lack of training and research that doomed journalism and allowed an Age of Propaganda to flourish unimpeded.

Because we never did bother to understand what is truth and reality, what they mean, and what they have always been trying to tell us…

What’s wrong with journalism? It keeps thinking it can tell people what they “must” do. No, they don’t have to support you. Earn it.

Journalism was a profession that required great humility. Ego cannot drive you when you are looking for facts. You are a soldier who is liberating the truth from lies by creating a map of reality.

Facts speak for themselves, and people have the right to do with facts whatever they wish.

You dig for facts and find them. You do not have to use melodramatic music to expose a tyrant, for example: his tyranny is self-evident when you present facts.

How many Great Men would have been exposed as charlatans if only reporters used facts to tell the story, and not narrative colour.

But the profession destroyed itself when arrogance got in the way — and considering how many grifters use arrogance to present of façade of power, they should have realized that modesty was the way to go.

Yet even now you see that arrogance in every facet of the profession.

The aptly-named Charlatan, the student newspaper of Carleton University that has its own j-school program, has students making conceited decrees that the “public must support journalism.”

No, they don’t.

They do not need you when they have an outlet to express what is happening around them. Journalism is contingent on public goodwill. It is not a divine or necessary part of society.

Yes, people need information, but they don’t need journalists to give it to them. Not anymore. You are not going to get a job in the profession by trying to bamboozle people into thinking that you are indispensable to them.

Nice try, but people liberated themselves from journalism for a reason.

But even those out of j-school don’t get it. CNN plays the same feint with their own opinion piece that “With Trump on the attack, Congress must defend free press.”

No, they don’t. Congress does not have to do that to make your job easier. They are not your guardians, protectors, let alone servants. They are the people who you must keep a watch on without expecting them to ever make your job easier.

There is no They to clean up your messes or have an obligation to do anything for you. Journalists aren’t making any true or deep systemic changes to their profession because they still think some They will make everything good and right for them again.

There is no They. You have to fight for your place in the world. Do not expect fear or pity to turn your fortunes around.

Because They is a lie and a figment of your imagination and will not come to rescue you no matter what kind of temper tantrum you throw…

When the gullible enter the dead profession: J-school students will amass student debt, graduate unemployed and unemployable.

Journalism required critical thinkers and innovators.

Instead, it got rote narcissists with a bad case of hubris.

The tradition continues. I have chronicled the works of j-school students here, showing their numbness to reality and truth.

I went to j-school. I graduated without owing a penny. I got myself jobs in the profession, but as I have mentioned before, I was not in love with the profession at the time. Journalism was going to be what I studied by working as a journalist.

But I remember worrying at the time about my job prospects when I was in j-school, even though I had a newspaper column at a big city daily, because even then, there were big job losses going on in Canadian journalism back in 1995-6.

Some of my classmates said that was nothing to worry about because that meant those outlets would merely hire our generation to fill those holes because we’d be cheaper.

It didn’t exactly work out that way, however. There was no turn around.

Journalists are still hoping, and find comfort that there are people applying to j-school (read: partisan stenographers) now because of the fabled “Trump Bump” and brouhaha over “fake news.”

I have met many j-school grads over the years — most who never got a job in the profession. The ones who did had to leave because they either lost their job, or were fired because the company couldn’t afford to keep even the cheap labour.

J-schools have made no core change to rejuvenate the profession at all. Journalism became outright propaganda waging war on people and groups they do not like.

That is not journalism. You have people who are meddlers telling other people they are thinking wrong.

People now have social media, and despite the campaign to weaken it, the current scandal is being overblown.As I have said before, people mostly use social media as a form of amateur public relations, and a lot of assumptions about people are unwarranted. More women voted for Trump than Clinton in the last election. A lot of people who are the most strident online often do the very opposite of what they pretend to believe. People with an image of happiness take their own lives, people who cheat on their spouses talk glowingly about their marriage, and people who break the law go an attack others so people wouldn’t suspect them.

But you don’t need journalism anymore. You need to get rid of all of the rot from the ground up, and start fresh without the baggage and the confines.

It is no hope that you still have the oblivious and the gullible going into the profession, but as the University of Wisconsin’s recent move hints, humanities and social sciences are not delivering, and administration is not going to revamp these programs, but shut them down.

Oxford University is no longer accepting candidates for a Doctor of Letters in the English department, either. Communications education — fiction or nonfiction — is in a freewill, and we are not seeing the kinds of innovative minds coming in to change anything. They are following the same structural scripts. They are already making the same logical mistakes that sunk the ship they wish to sail in.

This isn’t going to save journalism.

We need something else that reflects the world we live in right now — not the one that never existed fifty years ago.

Once upon a time, universities were the innovators who created new professions in those Ivory Towers. Now, they play it safe, following trends and not creating them.

I know because I have been knocking on doors trying to do something about it.

Those going willingly into a dead profession have misperceptions of reality — because if they truly wanted to combat “fake news” — they would first see all the fake news that profession was responsible for spreading. They would bypass j-schools and go into disciplines that would give them the necessary tools to combat it.

They won’t be helpful because it is the same kind of people who went into the profession before — to tell the world what to think instead of giving the world the facts they need to form their own plans that are tailer-made for their own life requirements.

What you have is a group of young minds who bought a narrative — there is no sense of realism, critical thinking, vigilance, or skepticism, and that helps no one in the short term or long term.

And that is a very troubling sign for the times…

Throwing temper tantrums is not being political. Ignoring reality is not being brave. Following old rules is not being prudent. Why the future of journalism is still dead.

Journalists were a desperate breed that turned into an extinct species. They are trying to spin their demise in any way they can, and while the have decided to blame Trump, Russia, and Social Media for their own self-destruction, they are trying to scheme and find a way to deny their death.

Everything so far hasn’t stuck.

Now, they are hoping a new generation will somehow resurrect them.

Memo to university students: fake news was in newsrooms first. It paved the way for other kinds of fake news, and the profession was as blind to reality as you are. The profession still doesn’t see its own hand in its death, and is lamenting something that caused destruction in its wake. J-schools are not the place that will teach anything else but the same toxic mindset that professionally killed the previous generation of reporters.

You are doing the same thing, but expecting a different outcome. Worse, you are using their old playbook to willingly do the same thing without adding anything new.

We have a young generation of play-it-safe slacktivists with some serious logical fallacies and bad acting skills that are setting them up for a battering. When you grow up with Apps For That and A Self-Righteous Narrative For Everything to go along with that I Am More Special And Enlightened Than You, the mindset  is created (not their own fault) that prevents innovation, and then the qualities required to bring in a new form of journalism will be very hard to come by.

The current Gun Control debate is very depressing and disappointing to me. Nothing new is being created by young minds that seem indoctrinated by the very same structure created by generations before them. Tattoos do not wire your brain differently. A new generation should see what failed in the past and then do something different. Do not follow the Establishment’s script, and then strut around as if you are original.

And with the griping about guns being the Bad Guys, that is exactly what we are seeing. Historically illiterate youth treating the rest of society as their servants, demanding that the rest of the world change for them.

04766fd6c31a2b655b240f4c988667fa

The world is not your mom and dad who said the same things when they were your age.

The most troubling part of it all is that you have a generation numb to facts, but a little too eager to latch on to a narrative that does not actually align with reality, and then try to use sophistry and idea-shaming to prop it up.

Gun control is not going to do a thing because the problem is that you have violent youth. That’s right: you have teenagers who seek to kill as many people as they can. As many before me have pointed out, we do not blame cars for drunk drivers who kill, and we certainly do not blame bombs when a terrorists strikes — so what’s up with blaming guns when it is the homicidal aggressors who are the ones who caused the problem in the first place?

If you get rid of every gun in the world, you will have the same number of people dying. With 3D printers, you can make your own gun. You have people who can make their own weapon without a 3D printer.

You have people in maximum security prisons who were caught with their own functional hand-made gun using a broken toothbrush, elastic, and a couple of other easy to obtain everyday object to make it.

If you are going to take up a cause, do research first — and that means the kind of research that refutes your initial hypothesis.

If the answer was simple, it would have been done already.

You have a generation who have unfettered access to the Internet, and yet their arguments are more flawed than the previous generation’s.

That’s what is troubling, and should trouble anyone who believes in progress.

Why are we having marches and protests in 2018, for instance? The Occupy Movement brought no progressive change whatsoever.

Protests rarely do a thing. It is venting and a temper tantrum, and as someone who has been to more than my fair share of them — sometimes marching every single day for weeks, not a single change ever came from marching in the streets.

And you cannot learn from the past? Do you honestly think you are that special?

It is a sign of being asleep at the wheel. I realized it one day, and then I decided to take a more active tract that took years, with far better results than a protest.

Protests happen because there was a breakdown and the side affected wasn’t paying attention when it counted. Laws get passed, and then people think of marching in the streets.

You would think a new generation would have seen it, and got their wheels turning, but no.

It is the 60s all over again. That is regression, not progression.

Changes semi-happened when people got off their duffs and ran for office or lobbied politicians for change.

And even that went only so far.

You would think a new generation would have seen the ineffectiveness of the current political system, and its structure, would have come up with something else. 

But not a chance.

It is as bizarre of phenomenon as it is fascinating — and disturbing.

For a Selfie Generation, there is no introspection or self-awareness. There is plenty of self-serving outrage and narcissism, but no substance, no innovation, and despite the hoopla, nothing to show for it, either.

You have a generation gunning itself down…and yet want the adults and government to clean up their messes in such a way that they do not have to confront their demons.

Why are you kids killing each other? Why are you slut-shaming and name-calling your own generation until they kill themselves?

Why haven’t you come up with anything new? Why aren’t you rebelling from both the Left and the Right? Why are you acting like royalty barking orders at your elder servants? What have you produced besides unimaginative YouTube stunts?

You have youth. You have resources. You have the most access to tools than any generation in the history of humanity…and you are throwing fits on Twitter?

You have no excuse for that garbage. Zero.

And you have already blown it.

What’s wrong with you?

You have a generation with the same destructive mindset that killed journalism.

If you want change, you have to change first. 

And that means not pretending you are the victim, and not being the Fairy Princess who is without flaw, and yet is always getting in a scrape needing rescuing by someone else who does all the grunt work.

You have to come to grips with reality.

That you have domestic serial bombers who are going out of their way to prove they don’t need guns to mow you down.

Or they can use a car, or have you children forgotten it already?

Perhaps you were not taught to look inwards, but others will look. You have protestors who think that no one will ever find out that they themselves have guns in their homes — their parents, and those protesters.

Some power-hungry politicians and pandering wealthy celebrities talk about “resistance”, and you are actually believing them?

Those are the people you need to resist against.

Left or Right are just two choices of infinite choices.

Make a new alternative. That is your absolute obligation to the world.

Or didn’t you get the memo? Did you think all of us were put on this earth to be your indentured servants?

Not a chance.

And the dead profession of journalism is coming out to exploit you…universities taking your money that you will never see as you drown in debt, and there is no job waiting for you when you graduate.

That is your plan? To blindly go into a dead profession by following all of their rules?

When I was young, I was not like the rest of my generation. When everyone was following scripts that I saw were bringing dwindling returns, I decided to forge a new path.

All by myself. No compass. No roadmap.

And I called what I did Method Research: learning about a institution’s weaknesses by forming experiments, and working in it as an experimenter.

My findings became my books.

I rejected the previous generation’s decrees. I rejected my own generation’s ennui and blindly following an eroding path.

And now I find myself rebelling against a new generation who are doing the exact same thing that failed my generation, only with more arrogance and ignorance.

When I was your age, I took on the world. I stood up to it, but never expected the world to bow to me, just as I refused to bow to it. I took advice from those who knew more than I did and had the experience I lacked, but I would always weave it with everything else to create something new as I turned over every rule to break it.

In other words, I practice what I preach.

I have no regrets because I stood up to tyranny as I offered my own vision of a better world, meaning I created something to give to others.

おもいやり.

No one owes you. There isn’t a Life App. There isn’t a hack. There is no They or Prince Charming to save you, children. If you want a different world, shut up, stop nagging, and go make it without your helicopter parents fighting your battles for you.

Pioneering generations make new worlds from the ashes of the old. The world before you did what it needed and wanted to suit its own purposes.

If that doesn’t please you, too bad. Deal with it.

It’s your turn to show what you’ve got.

Sadly, with that turn, right off the bat, you’ve already decided to learn nothing from the past as if it were beneath you, making you a re-run, a re-make, a re-hash.

And we already know what happened to your ilk in the profession of journalism.

You want to confront the fake? First figure out what’s real.

Not virtual. Not narrative. Not spin. Not propaganda. Not fantasy. Not hubris.

It’s why I still fight every day to create something new, without making the same mistakes that sank many an unhappy and ill-fated ship before me…

How irrelevant are j-schools now? No one can think of anything better for them to do than provide anti-overdose training. Yes, j-schools are done.

This pathetic article on Al Jazeera’s website explains precisely why j-schools failed the profession:

US journalism students should undergo anti-overdose training

The article morally masturbates in public, praising anti-overdose training so that reporters can enable illness in people with substance abuse disorders…

Instead of finding out facts that society needs to confront their demons.

J-schools are not the place for EMS-style training. If you want to know how to do it, there are places that offer those workshops. I have taken life-saving training through St. John’s Ambulance, for instance. J-schools were supposed to be the place where you learned how to dig for facts.

You want to play hero, children, put on a cape and cowl and go run outside in your backyard, making laser noises.

If you want to be an adult, grow up, become literate enough to read the job description, then get those necessary skills to do it.

This thinking is self-absorbed lunacy and arrogant laziness disguised as compassion.

Not once in this article does either author consider why there is an opioid epidemic in the first place.

Because we had journalists sit there and do nothing of value for public service. They were too busy covering hot dog eating contests, celebrity gossip, and cribbing from press releases.

They were too good to cover local news, such as what is happening in school halls. That’s where the troubles began.

There is a difference between Are your children safe at school? versus Are you safe at school?

And now journalists are so unwilling to change their core, they are trying to think up ways to pretend to be useful to society without having to do what is needed to rebuild.

Well, we refuse to do real work, cover reality, or write about facts; but keep us around because we’ll bring you back from the dead if you do too much drugs, okay?

How the mighty have fallen face first into a pile of horse dung. No wonder their logic stinks.

It is not the addicts who needed an intervention. It was the journalists.

J-schools are dead. And there is no anti-overdone drug that will save those oblivious sots from the mendacity of their own worthless sophistry.

The Ivory Tower’s migrating ideological hamster wheel and why j-schools cannot be modernized. They can only be replaced.

Journalism always need empirical methods, but it is not like academia. Academia is isolated from reality and has buffers. It can take decades to unfold and relies on outside funding from parties with vested interests in cures, technology, marketing, even entertainment.

Journalism is not that. It cannot afford to theorize or overthink. It is not there to inculcate or give lectures to the little people: it is there to find the truths hidden in lies and report them. Academia and journalism are incompatible, and if they ever got together, academics would take over, and turn the dead corpse of journalism into a Frankenstein monster, and then twist logic to argue that an undead beast is a good thing.

You have theories how j-schools need to modernize. No, they need to be shut down, and a new method of teaching take over. You need radicalization and revolution that rebels against journalism and academia, while taking elements of both to create something new.

Academia is not in a good place. You have students dictating how they will be educated, which is sheer lunacy, but given that professors are isolated from the rest of society as if they were monks, they don’t know how to push back because they know what they have is flawed. We have accusations of an Euro-centric system, but what we need is not diversity: what we need is universality: finding core principles that are present across the board, regardless of “centricity”. Reality may be situational, but truth is not. There is no such thing as “your truth” — you do not own it as it is not a slave to primitive, manipulative, and selfish humans. It is larger than us.

We do not even own reality, either: it is shared space. What we own are our own perceptions, interpretations, illusions, fantasies, and delusions, and these are various forms of baggage we ought to rid ourselves of as soon as possible. 

Academia lost its confidence because it failed to rid itself of many of its own fantasies and delusions, and, to appease the angry mob, gave in to their fantasies. That is not the place to create a science of information-gathering that is suppose to reflect reality and find truth.

The Ivory Tower spun on a hamster wheel, slowly migrating to the Left.

But true information dissemination must always be radically centrist. You do not take sides. Heads or tail — why does it matter? It is still the same silly coin. You cannot say one side is superior to the other when they are made of the same substance.

Journalism should have not taken sides: it should have examined the coin itself — how much is it worth, for starters. Whose currency is it? What is it going to be used for and why?

The scientific method does have methods information-gatherers should take, and it should avoid the social sciences entirely as they are fraught with their own problems that journalism doesn’t need to inherent.

Psychology seems like a social science, but over time, it moved away from its philosophy roots and made a leap toward the sciences. Journalism could benefit doing the same — but to adapt those methods where the laboratory is the real world.

But it has to be done from scratch. The old guard from both will refuse to admit their shortcomings and limitations and will try to remodel it to their old methods. It needs to be done with a solid foundation without that baggage from either.

It should take the best of both, adding more to the mix, ensuring it does not become political or static.

It’s a tall order, but the meandering methods of academia do not translate into journalism as their mandates and purposes clash. Journalism needs empirical methods, but not as if it were being done in an Ivory Tower where it will be covering people as if they were lab rats in a box. It’s not neat and tidy. It’s a mess, and the world needs applied empirical psychologists chronicling the world around them.

You will not find any of that in a single university. You will not find that in any media outlet. Both have things a new version requires — but a new method needs freedom from rules and truisms to truly grow.

It’s always someone else’s fault, but don’t worry: it will all work out in the end. Journalism’s broken mindset. Deflect, deny, and then be chipper.

 

The Guardian seems alarmed as the following headline signals:

Don’t give elites a legal way to strangle investigative journalism

Oh honey, that ship has sailed. Elites already strangled it. To death. Now it is a question of them causing indignity to the profession’s corpse.

Journalism used hero worship and made Great Man narratives acceptable, and then those people got in power, thanks to the press, and now can prevent others from making a play for their power by rigging laws to keep that power.

But kudos to The Guardian for at least being aware that being in a pine box is a bad thing.

Canadian journalists are not so clever. The Flamborough Review is as dumb as dirt. So oblivious is the paper is they had the nerve to publish this piece of Pollyanna dreck:

Journalism will live on

Inherent humane desire for reliable information will never fade, writes Gergyek

No, it won’t. We have a dead press with a smattering of partisan propagandists who either bash Trump or look for positive in rot. Journalism is dead.

It needs a replacement that is not journalism. You can get information in other ways other than journalism. Sunny spinning rot is engaging in lies.

Of course, the Review had to find a hapless j-school student to do it.

And j-school students aren’t the rebellious sort. They are mimics who parrot whatever they hear without question.

The proof? There is this amateur propaganda piece from the Concordian, a student newspaper:

What looms on the horizon for journalism?

And then the standard chipper denial:

Even though journalism is facing enormous challenges, the profession is going through somewhat of a renaissance. That was the general consensus among panelists at the Journalism and Media Conference, held in the McGill University Student Centre from Feb. 26 to 28.

Memo to clueless j-school student who obvious has no ability to have an independent thought: the industry has not gone through any renaissance. That’s what deluded narcissists say as a defence mechanism. The industry collapsed.

Job losses continue. Outlets are closing. Those cocky owners begged the federal government to give them money to subsist.

There is no investigative journalism anymore. Online publications are begging for money. They pander to partisan audiences, and it is not enough — and the act means there is no journalism. At what point does the new generation face their reality, stop their conniving bootlicking of authority figures, rise up, and go through a down and dirty innovative revolution?

Your elders are so used to bragging and lying how great everything is that they cannot lose face and admit the truth. Stop being their well-trained lapdogs, j-school kids.

Open your eyes and look everywhere around you, not just where some people in a dead profession tell you to see.

Even the tiny Gander Beacon, though having an editorial that blares with the headline “Journalism in jeopardy”, is still not computing. The editorial seems to believe that tweaking to be more user-friendly on the Internet is enough. No internal soul-searching. No revolution of the core. Maybe it will all turn around.

No.

A collapsed building cannot “turn around.” You have to take away the rubble, and build again — but in such a way that the next building won’t suffer the same fate. Build it better — and then keep watch on ensuring the building doesn’t rot from neglect — or that squatters don’t move in to use that building as a cover for their own dark purposes.

But journalism has a broken mindset — deny the obvious problems. If you cannot deny them, blame someone else. Then if you must, do something to make the fringe look better without making fundamental changes. And when everything collapses, believe everything will work itself out in the end.

How can anyone trust chroniclers of the world with a deluded mindset like that?

At least the UK still has some journalistic mettle, and some morals in seeing what is going on. Canada, and even the US have no such compass. That is the reason their press collapsed harder and faster. It is not just that those in the industry are in hard denial: it is that the new generation are just as oblivious and lethargic. They see that coffin, and do not have the sense not to jump into it.

Journalism is dead and it won’t wake up just to make you be able to brag to your little fake friends that maybe one day you’ll be “famous”.

A revolution is absolutely crucial — one that brings a new kind of mindset and future-focussed generation ready to rumble to find those truths and realities so that no one has to suffer the way others before them did because they were kept in the dark with omissions, propaganda, and lies.

Memo to the Daily Helmsman: Your own misconceptions about the state of a dead profession proves why the dead profession of journalism is in dire need of a replacement.

Student newspapers are bland and devoid of a context of reality.

735dc572-8be2-11e6-ba12-13c233502036

But student newspapers are interesting not just because of their hyperbole (The Daily Helmsman has the gall to label itself as “fearless journalism”, yet merely work as junior stenographers who have not even risked a broken nail to get real information, delusion in the profession begins early), but because students voice their beliefs in an open forum, and illustrate just how poorly they are being prepared for the reality of adulthood.

Take this article from the aforementioned Helmsman:

Editors’ roundtable: Modern misconceptions about journalism

The article should have been renamed Modern delusions students of journalism hold about the profession they are studying, but that would require them to be fearless, which they are obviously not.

Let’s just take one of the “myths” they have in this piece:

Myth 4: Journalism is a dying industry. 

It is beyond the dying stages, kiddies. It’s dead. The profession is not recovering because they have competition from these people who you blithely dismissed:

Myth 3: Bloggers and YouTubers do the same job as journalists.

There are bloggers who have far more  experience and expertise as journalists. Dr. Jen Gunter, for instance, is a blogging doctor who debunked Toronto Star’s inaccurate exposé a few years ago, and there are others who have exposed propaganda and lies put out by the press. There are many who are on par with reporters, and those who are below, but to the public, the appeal is simple: they do not want a single entity to hold all the power of communications, and they will gladly trade off one for the other.

But do not knock those who work outside a corrupted system. I am blogging, and I have worked in the profession, and write books about the profession. To paint everyone with the same brush disproves:

Myth 1: Journalists twist everything you say.

Your own narrative and spin in the piece shows that at the very least budding journalists like to twist people’s perceptions. It is inconvenient for j-school students to contemplate the fact they made a bad choice in university major, and hence the are trying to spin perceptions to hide reality as if that would alter said reality. It doesn’t.

This is a manipulative little comfort piece. Students should question why journalism died and why the university or college who takes their money still allows a broken profession to be taught.

J-school students should be attune to the collapse of their profession. As for this knee-slapper:

Myth 5: American journalists hate the U.S. 

American journalists do not understand their own country. They malign anyone whose ideology is not lockstep with their own. They do not actually support democracy; they support democracy so long as everyone believes what they believe. Fox News dislikes the Left. CNN dislikes the Right. It is time to stop pretending the press isn’t partisan. It is, and it has become propaganda once again.

Students should take the collapse of journalism seriously. They should keep track of job losses and outlet closures. They should see the media consolidation. They should be aware of the thinning of the news product, and every blunder made.

Otherwise, they are not fit to be chroniclers of reality. The world doesn’t need another mindless and dutiful stenographer who is insensitive to truth and reality.

Because that’s how journalism died in the first place.

Delusional advertising as journalism: And the profession wonders why it imploded. Get over yourselves first.

I have had people ask me why Canadian journalism imploded first, to which I always say of all the hubris choking the profession, the worst offenders are Canadians who mistake self-congratulation with actual journalism. That humble modest trope that stereotypes Canadians is no where to be found among their journalists.

Take two examples, for instance.

This article headline says it all:

The journalism landscape is looking a lot like Mordor right now, but there are no shortage of heroes trying to save it

Heroes trying to save it. Heroes. That is a lofty assessment of oneself. And saving journalism, meaning keeping the status quo so there is no need to critically look at what the profession has been doing wrong to find themselves in this quagmire in the first place.

Fake news is not to blame.

Big Tech is not to blame.

Russia is not to blame.

Donald Trump is not to blame.

Journalists messed up their own profession because they were too busy being in love with themselves to see that they were not doing their jobs. They had fantasies fuelled by the movie All the President’s Men.

There is no consideration that their methods and techniques are antiquated. There is no drive to improve, evolve, or progress. Just do it the same way in a changing world, and then expect your fortunes to magically transform. Life does not work that way.

The profession did not need “saving”. It needed a revolution.

Now it is too late. It’s dead.

So stop writing ad copy and then pretend it is a news story.

You would think j-school students would see what is happening, and be revolutionaries — rebelling against the status quo.

Not a chance.

The Manitoban has student journalists mindlessly parroting the elders who destroyed their castle:

There are important stories in the newspaper you are reading right now.

Flip or scroll to the news, sports, or arts sections of this paper and you will find articles on peoples’ passions, triumphs, pitfalls, and tribulations.

No, it’s not. There is no experimentation. There is no innovation. It is rote mimicry of something that clearly doesn’t work.

And you have students also mistaking a news outlet as a legitimate forum of lecturing readers with ad copy how wonderful and essential they are.

There is no free will, or critical independent thought. There are no rebels or visionaries.

There are just mindless followers who keep parroting the same mantra, hoping their cheering will infect the populace who will believe them.

That’s not news. That’s narcissism.

The public now has the means to bypass you. They have been bypassing you for two decades now. Social media is no longer a new kid. It’s your conqueror.

There is no saving journalism.

There is only creating something superior to replace it.

How j-schools miss the mark. You have to tell your students the truth about the truth of journalism.

A couple of university-based student newspaper article show that j-school students are not being prepared for the reality of the present situation of a dead profession, let alone the future.

We have one article about a speech, and it is interesting that the speaker had this to say:

[T]he shift will give new power to the future journalists, though it may take some time for them to establish themselves.

“I can’t imagine there is a single model that will work. I’m sure a number of approaches will be employed to appeal to customers. The most important thing will be for reporters to go after stories that are fresh, different, relevant and interesting,” she said.

“The days of presenting yesterday’s news are over now that we are shifting to the immediacy of the digital world. I think people are slowly realizing journalism doesn’t come for free and that quality journalism is something they have to pay for.”

This is again the jilted first-wife logical fallacy: sooner or later, people will come back. There is no consideration that the profession alienated the public who had an alternative and flocked to it instead.

And the “shifting” to the Internet? That happened twenty years ago. We have an entire generation of adults who grew up with the Internet.

Yet the press still talks as if this was just happening within the last couple of years.

And people are not paying for journalism. Journalists are losing their jobs in droves. This isn’t the first time media outlets tried a pay-per-view model. What we are seeing is something else: the abandonment of journalism. You cannot have Newsweek having its own internal turmoil, a raid on its offices, and then making colossal errors in their new stories, and then think people are going to believe the press. You have a crisis that has led to an implosion, and yet you would never know it from this speech.

The second article is about a recent CJR Fear and Pity Tour entitled “Journalism under Trumpism”. The headline itself is very telling of who is going to get the label of villain. Instead of looking inward on how to reinvent a collapsed profession, it is going to be how readers should absolutely go back to journalism outlets because they will be helpless in the onslaught of Trumpism.

The speakers concede that, yes, there were declines before Trump, but they do not look too deeply at them. This panelist’s comments are interesting:

“So that goes back to how do we gain the trust and how do we fix the business model? And there isn’t an easy answer.” She, however, emphasized transparency as a possible method to win back people’s trust. “When you look at why the media has lost trust, [in North America], people think that they [the media] have hidden biases and agendas,” she said, “So if you’re upfront with your agenda then at least you’ve gotten rid of part of that lack of trust.”

There is no attempt to question one’s own perceptions of reality. There is no question on whether our own habits and confines that we take for granted harmed the profession. “Well, I am biased, deal with it,” is not journalism. It is partisan propaganda, and the profession already went through it, and then abandoned it precisely because you cannot gain trust when you do not empathize or have the emotional literacy to look at the big picture as you empirically gain facts.

When I worked as a journalist, I would map out a story. I would see who were the players and issues, and then research on similar cases. I would then research on individuals. I would then speak to experts and many of them with different perspectives. What I am looking at? A lot of times, someone would tell me things that that there was no way I could consider because I didn’t have the background to be able to do it.

For example, I wrote an article on “cyber crime” and I had the opportunity to interview a profession who used to be a police officer. His perspective was absolutely unique. So I interviewed him, and he gave me food for thought: very rarely do we call a crime based on the weapon of choice. Cyber crime is such a case, but we don’t talk about “hammer” crime. He did point out that when cars were first used as getaway vehicles, the term “autobanditry” was used.

Another expert on the same story had a unique job of analyzing technology used in such crimes, such as doctored ATM machines. Still another explained that many doctors and lawyers were victims of phishing scams, particularly if their loved one had cancer, and they were desperate. A prosecutor explained how difficult these crimes were to prosecute because you needed warrants for every country an illegal email, for instance, went through.

SoI would interview people affected by the issue I was writing about. There are multiple filters, and multiple processes. Sometimes, when it is breaking news, the process is reversed, but at no time do I impose biases on the matter because I am there to inform.

If I were to, for example, discuss how First Nations murder victims are treated in the courts, I would start looking at the two most obvious and recent cases. I’d read the court transcripts. Then I would look at other, previous cases, and see where that takes me.

Then I would look at cases that never went to trial.

I would interview experts on it, but not just legal experts or Aboriginal activists and scholars. I would make certain to find other areas where there are vulnerabilities, and see how those systems work. What are the rigs? What is the gold standard?

Then I would compare how First Nations murder victims compare to white, black, and other groups. I would compare based on gender, age, geographical location within the same group.

You start talking to lawyers. You start finding patterns. Is it outright racism? Is it an outdated system? Is it more than one variable? Is this the same old problem, is it bad, but nowhere near the past — or is this absolutely an implosion and decline of the worst sort?

My white woman-ness is not a factor if I am doing information-gathering right because you have a list of questions. You allow everyone you interview to talk for as long as they wish. I rarely guided interviews because people had a lot to tell me. I was always patient. I always asked if there was anything I missed, I asked if there were misconceptions, things people needed to know, but never seemed to, and the like.

In other words, I would basically direct my interviewees to tell me where I am stupid.

Believe me, people did tell me, albeit always very graciously. I never pretend to know more than the person I was interviewing. I never had a narrative going in. I always always surprised at the outcome once I had my data in.

I didn’t speak for other people: I let them speak for themselves. I also let the facts speak for themselves. I never had someone complain that I twisted their words and intent, and very often, interview subjects would drop me a line to thank me for letting them say what they needed to say without spin or misinterpretation.

I wasn’t a stenographer; however, but I wasn’t a propagandist, either. I presented the reality and the truth. I did not tell readers how to think. They didn’t have to agree with the interviewees — nor did they have to disagree with them, either. I hunted. I gathered. I showed what my haul was. I had respect for readers not to impose a point of view on them as I gave them many different voices and facts to ponder.

I built layers in my articles. That people have different points of view is reality, and my stories reflected on it. I wasn’t telling people how to think or who to cheer. I went looking for hard to find information. I went digging in old archives, and grumbled having to pay for court transcripts that I had to drive for miles to get. I read academic studies as I vetted experts. I gathered every article I could find on a topic to see what was already covered, and what still needed to be said.

When I wrote, I was the student. When my article was published, I was the teacher.

J-school students do not get any sort of guidance to how bad the industry has collapsed. They are in some time hole where it is still 1995.

I was a j-school student in 1995. Times have changed radically since then.

But somehow, the profession’s education has been left behind, and it has been giving students a very wrong idea of what they need to do once they graduate.

They need to understand there is no profession. A new one has to be built from scratch.

And there are in way prepared to create it..