Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, died this summer, leaving an immense void in responsible journalism.
So who will take his place? Brian Williams? Katie Couric? Anderson Cooper?
According to a Time poll, the “most trusted man in America” is now Jon Stewart, a comedian known for his work on “The Daily Show.”
Most people these days are put off by network news and many newspaper readers are turning to satire for their current events as a result.
Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” the popular publication The Onion and Brophy’s own student publication The Wrangler are all examples of satire.
Satire is often comedic and has been used throughout the ages to examine human follies.
“The Wrangler gives students a venue for a different type of writing—one rife with parody, precision and wit. Lampooning a culture through writing allows a community to understand itself more completely, authentically and humbly,” Mr. John Damaso ’97, one of The Wrangler’s faculty advisers, told The Roundup in an e-mail interview.
Satire is a valuable tool and can be used to provoke change and improve society. It often offers comedic commentary on social issues that many news outlets are ignoring or not covering.
Satire can also be a mechanism to keep news organizations in check. Too often while holding people accountable journalists forget who they answer to: the public.
However, there are some important distinctions between satire and news.
Because satire is not journalism, its primary focus is “funny,” not “truth,” and in the case of publications like The Onion it is rarely true.
The public suffers when the truth is lost and is trumped by comedy. This is not to say satire does not have a key place in our culture, but it fulfills a different purpose than journalism traditionally has.
The press is often referred to as the fourth estate, used to keep the government in line when it steps beyond its own boundaries.
It must be remembered that journalism goes hand in hand with the promotion of social justice.
A good journalist does not report on what is trendy, but what is true.
A good journalist represents the everyman, not the politician or business mogul. A good journalist is the true voice for the voiceless.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
At The Roundup our goal is “to report the truth even when it is unpopular to do so.”
Because of this, we adhere to the Society of Professional Journalist’s code of ethics, whose ultimate goal is “to seek truth and report it.”
Still, we do not bar ourselves from publishing satire. But in the case that we use satire it is our policy to label it as such and limit it to our Opinions and Entertainment sections.
Furthermore all photos in our pages are unaltered and are not staged unless they are potraits or specifically noted as “Graphic” or “Illustration.”
News may not always be funny or entertaining, but the dissemination of information is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a free society.
While we mainly report on news that may be viewed as less entertaining than satire, it is still extremely important to our staff that we connect to our audience. We strive to write about issues both pertinent and enjoyable to the Brophy community, and hopefully in a format and style that engages readers.
Without readership, important information is unequivocally lost.
This is where mass media outlets have failed recently; they have neglected especially younger readers and made little attempt to strike a balance between what they think people need to know and what those people actually want to read.
By doing this media outlets drove readers and viewers away and essentially gave them no choice but to seek funny over fact.
We think a balance between the two is necessary, even if it cannot come from our publication alone.
This edition Tyler Scott ’12 reported on the reemergence of The Wrangler, a Brophy satire newspaper that has been on hiatus since the 90s.
The Wrangler is in capable hands with leaders who appreciate the value of both straight news and tasteful satire, and we welcome the publication back to campus.
Regardless of what is in the daily news cycle we cannot forget to laugh, and The Wrangler can entertain in ways The Roundup often cannot.
This is an opportunity for the Brophy community to have both news and satire without having to give up one for the other.
And for that we are all better.
Staff editorial by Andrew Atallah ’10 and Dallas Ducar ’10
Staff editorials represent the view of The Roundup. Share your thoughts by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or online at roundup.brophyprep.org.