Humanity Needs Journalism

  • Emma Benninghoff
  • 08.17.2016

“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.”

I came across this quote, from magazine publisher Henry Luce, a few years ago. But at the time, I didn’t fully understand it.

I wondered what power journalism had to do something so seemingly extraordinary? I had heard journalism referred to as a “declining” industry, and I questioned if this could be true?

But this summer, as an intern at The News Media Alliance, I realized the true power of the journalism and news media industries, and why it will persist.

Journalism is a fundamental part of life. People will never stop waking up every morning wanting to know what’s going on in the world. And I, just like everyone else, am curious.

During my internship at The Alliance, I’ve fed my curiosity. I’ve written about topics ranging from Donald Trump’s tweets to Virtual Reality. I’ve interviewed talented journalists and leaders; people I one day aspire to be like. I’ve learned about writing, web design, digital graphics, politics and public service. I’ve been lucky enough to work with devoted, accomplished colleagues who are determined to fight for our industry and confront the changes in today’s media.

And with the evolutions in our industry, more opportunities arise. The dialogue for journalism is different than ever before—utilizing video broadcasting, graphic design and interactive digitals. And with that comes more consumer engagement and accessibility. At The Alliance, these innovations and transformations are embraced. So to all those people that may claim journalism is “declining,” I’ve learned that it’s quite the opposite.

Journalism is, and always will be, crucial to humanity.

Journalism serves as a catalyst for change; it is irreplaceable in its ability to inform and advocate. A perfect example: the true story that inspired the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight.” In this case, The Boston Globe put out a chilling 2002 report of a Boston priest repeatedly sexually abusing children. This story prompted a 5-month investigation, a worldwide crisis for the Catholic Church, a Pulitzer Prize, and, eventually, an Oscar-winning film highlighting this tragic journalistic success.

And this is just one example of journalism shedding light on societal issues that must be addressed.

So when Henry Luce said he wanted to “come as close as possible to the heart of world,” I think I know what he meant. I think he wanted to explore every imaginable topic; covering political candidates, basketball strategies and economic theories all in the same week. I think he wanted to learn as much as he could about human nature. I think he wanted to advocate for those that couldn’t, plead for change, and brutally analyze reality. I think he wanted to wake up every morning knowing what’s out there, and giving others a way to know as well.

With journalism, he could.


  • Emma Benninghoff
Emma Benninghoff is a student and former communications intern at News Media Alliance.