This week's readings really reminded me of my reporting days. When I was writing for a paper in Northern New York, I covered the Army post Fort Drum. While covering the Army was an interesting and rewarding experience, it could also be incredibly frustrating. Of course the Army, like any company or organization, wants the best press for itself possible, but as we know it also has its share of problems (also like any company or organization), some related to the current situations in the world and some endemic to the organization itself.
In the Hafez article the author mentioned the media putting a lot of (and perhaps too much) faith in government sources after 9/11. When reporting on the Army that's what I felt like I had to do. You have to go through their Public Affairs office to get pretty much any information or interviews with officials. While this is standard for many organizations, it seemed like there was an even bigger barrier between reporting on the Army and reporting on other organizations. They always seemed to have their guard up and I definitely could sense the spin being put on certain stories.
While I did want to lead instead of follow the news as Hafez mentions, I didn't feel I had the ability to make a change in policy or even really public perception through my work. It mostly felt like I was reacting to things that had already occurred. A more experienced reporter probably would have been able to get a jump on some of the stories and maybe "break" more news than I would have been able to. I love the idea of the media affecting change as Hafez says it should, but in my experience it is quite difficult to do that and especially to balance it with the impartial view a journalist is in theory supposed to take as wanting to change a policy or actions tends to have an opinion attached to it. I suppose my idealized view of the media (which I know doesn't really and may never actually exist) is one that shows people things that are happening in the world that they may not know about, gives them the facts and allows them to make their own decisions and take their own actions about it.