I found it interesting recently as I took note of my father-in-law regularly listening to the radio news at the top of almost every waking hour and catching the 6pm televised news. He would quietly remove himself from social situations to do it. It seemed to be approached as a duty. He also gravitated towards anything in the house that resembled a newspaper.
In how both of us approach our consumption of information there is clearly a generational difference in play. Though we consume our news differently, we share a sense that journalism is important in a democracy – that it plays a central role in keeping us informed. It is my belief that the people in the industry are therefore critical, hence the existence of Media Chaplaincy New Zealand as a service dedicated to their well-being.
But there are questions. How are things changing and what sort of journalism do we need? Do the changes in modern news dissemination serve us well? If you believe that good journalism and a well functioning democracy go hand-in-hand then the nature of our democracy will, to a certain extent, shape what models of journalism we need and therefore the nature of those who participate in the media landscape.
Rev. Francis (Frank) Ritchie is the Director and lead chaplain for Media Chaplaincy New Zealand. If you work in the news media and would like to sit down and have a confidential chat with Frank over coffee to discuss life and work, feel free to get in touch via the ‘Contact’ page.