“What I Learned from Alex Ellefson About Being a Journalist – and About Journalism.”

According to Alex Ellefson, journalists should do what one is passionate about and hopefully good things will happen. Being forced to do a topic or subject you don’t care about, hurts your ability to truly report the news in the right way and leaves one unfulfilled. When covering topics, it’s always important to put a human face on every story, and empower those actively fighting certain issues they find wrong. In all of his stories, we see Ellefson do this as he highlights issues going on with landlords, senior care facilities,etc… and what people are doing to address or fix the crises at hand. Quotes like, “I can’tbelieve the Department of Health just gave him the license and then took it away without checking into it, or “I feel that at 92, I lived a full life, it’s my time now to rest and relax and have some comfort,” give the reader an insight into what individuals are feeling and leads them to question how events like this could happen.

Here is a clear example of journalism’s true purpose, giving a voice to those who often are unable to speak out against injustice. In addition, we also learned about the landlords and how they sometimes manipulate and trick tenants into leaving apartments under the premise they’ll be renovated for them. Then when the tenants try to come back,their doors are blocked by cones, objects, etc… or the landlords sell the building to more affluent people who can pay higher rents and produce more revenue. In all of New York, this is becoming a major dilemma as long-time residents of neighborhoods are being forced out, and lack resources to fight back.

Ellefson’s work is featured in the Indypendent, a downtown Brooklyn magazine dedicated to focusing on grassroot movements fighting issues and highlighting injustices.Many magazines and newspapers don’t focus on issues like the Independent does, and only highlight mainstream issues in the city like crime in “bad” communities or where to find thebest restaurants. Yet the Independent focuses on issues the everyday man faces such as gentrification, climate change and what people are hoping will change in how we all think and act on these topics. It isn’t always easy to report, but true journalists must report the facts no matter what obstacles might be in their way.

We learned from Professor Howell that back in the 1980’s, there were much more conflict for reporters when covering certain events. At one point, he was thrown out of a meeting between tenants and landlords which was starting to get ugly for trying to take notes on the rhetoric being exchanged between cops and the tenant unions. The truth is the most important virtue people cherish, and it’s one of the main criteria that makes journalism such an important profession. No one else would dare cover events in a town hall or other venue, report on the facts and potentially help create reforms to help fix dilemmas going on in society. Journalists like Alex utilize this power, and it’s vital that we uphold his work along with others who do the same things.

The Indypendent is one of the publications that does this, but mostly required donations and fundraising to pay publication fees. Many resort to this method, as print journalism is slowly dying out with the internet becoming the main resource humans use to get their news from. Sites like Vice and Yahoo and BBC news are becoming forefronts in reporting world coverage, and even local coverage changing how we get our news, along with focusing on issues that they feel are more important than others. For aspiring journalists, one should also look according to Mr. Ellefson at going abroad and covering news.

This allowed him to become a much more confident reporter, and no longer get nerves when interviewing important people like an NYPD officer, Mayor De Blasio, or others. Internships like his at the Jordan Times also helps one get better at learning other languages which is important if you want to talk about people of all races, and gain experience that will look great on a resume helping you get a job in the field. After all, as Alex said experience is the one thing that makes you a better journalist.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s