TIME magazine’s choice of People of the Year reflects battle against journalism


Photo courtesy of BBC

Jamal Khashoggi, one of the reporters selected as one of Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year' award.

It’s been a tough year for journalists both domestically and internationally. Fifty-three journalists were killed due to their persistence to protect the truth. Cartels in Mexico assassinated four journalists for exposing their maliciousness and cruelty. Twenty-two journalists were killed in Afghanistan and Syria for their coverage of the brutal powers at play in war. Perhaps most striking, four journalists were killed in the U.S. this year alone. A man enraged by the Capital Gazette’s coverage of his probation walked into the news organization and opened fire.

The domestic war against journalism has shaken news organizations to their bones. The emergence of fake and polarized news has led to a blurry line between reliable news and bias slander. The current administration has only succeeded in invalidating the media more with misdirected claims of ‘witch hunts’ and naming the press ‘the enemy of the people.’

Journalism has been the subject of a good deal of polarization. Credibility seems to lie in the eye of the beholder, not within the media organizations’ actions.

TIME magazine chose to name four journalists and a newspaper editorial board for their annual ‘Person of the Year,’ now ‘People of the Year.’ The metric they use to award their front cover to is based on a simple criteria; who represents where the world is at this year? The answer to that question can vary from Miley Cyrus to Adolf Hitler.

So what does it mean that TIME chose journalists to reflect the year 2018?

It means journalism is under attack. The 53 dead journalists are the martyrs of the belief in holding those in power accountable, regardless of how much the powerful hate it. Journalists have been driven into fear. Their job is now one of the most highly contested in any country and governments, individuals and corporations are willing to contest them with violence and public shaming.

It means the first amendment is under attack in the U.S. The backbone of why we consider America the home of the free is being challenged by an administration that is supposed to protect the very amendment that they swore to protect. Government censorship of the media is real and its ugly face has only become more prevalent in the past year.

Most importantly, TIME’s choice for People of the Year reflects that the truth is under attack. Journalists are guardians of honesty and accountability. Attacks against the media mean that there is a darker truth that the powerful would prefer us not to see.

This is only more justification for us to keep digging. If there are things that the powerful shroud in secrecy, you can bet that violence only fuels journalists’ desire to keep looking for the answers. Regardless of the size, relevance, location or age of the news organization, journalists will keep fighting to reveal these dark truths. We will not stop.

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