Journalism — or the telling of events by correspondents — has changed according to historical processes. The way journalism was done and the way stories were told in the 1800s is very different from the way these things are done now. In recent history, journalists have attempted to take an “objective” stance, claiming that there is no bias in the telling of the news. We at Conjuncture Magazine disagree.
Communication is political. To say, “500 people demonstrated at the city square” says something. To say, “500 working-class people demonstrated at the city square” says something else. To say, “500 people aggressively blocked the traffic in the center of the city” is again another story. Each sentence reveals a different layer of the event, of reality. Hence, all writing has a political subtext. In that what you chose to reveal, reveals relations of power. If we understand that writing as something political it is impossible to be neutral and that means the journalist cannot be objective.
As they say in Chiapas, it matters from where you see the world. If we were to begin to imagine what journalism needs to be then we would have to begin from where journalists need to see the world. The journalist would thus have to insert themself to see the world from below. This then means that the journalist, by necessity, takes a side. We say that the journalist must see the world from below and write in the interest of the oppressed to work towards positive changes of the current reality. This is not to say that the journalist is in the same position. But rather that the journalist’s profession is to cast a critical eye on that which was previously ignored and to help project the voice of the oppressed. It is to acknowledge a common struggle, a common language of exploitation. As the old maxim goes, “the point is not to interpret the world, but to change it.”
Conjuncture Magazine cannot report every happening as it happens. Though it is good that someone does. It is necessary. Someone must say, “Earthquake in Chile!” But the sentence is still incomplete. The story is incomplete. We ask, “Where did the earthquake hit? Who received aid first? Who did not receive aid? Who was left out of the headline” and from here we can begin to reveal why and try to find out what is the subtext. Understanding that an event happens in a context then even if time is taken to uncover the relations, this is still news. That is, we are still uncovering the happening to its fuller revelation.
The journalist is a social agent. They serve as the nexus, the witness, and the messenger. They open the possibility to first learn that something happened, then understand its meaning, and most importantly, to do something about it. Hence, in a simple formula, the role of our journalism is to inform, to oppose, to propose, and in doing all of the above, to politicize. As we understand it, to politicize is to recognize that change is the product of a collective endeavor. Meinhof’s adage still rings true today: if one person throws a stone, it’s a crime. However, if thousands of stones are thrown, it is political.
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