COLUMN: After Nassar trial, journalism is more important now than ever
On Jan. 24 Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting more than 250 women during his tenure, disguising it as treatment.
These brave women who testified against him started as just one voice — Rachael Denhollander’s. She came forward in 2016 after The Indianapolis Star published a story on how USA Gymnastics had ignored sexual assault claims.
Denhollander’s story led to a domino effect of survivors coming forward.
If light was not shed on that story by reporters, these women might have never gone public with their claims. Nassar could have still been practicing medicine today.
Because of a story, Nassar’s grotesque actions were unveiled and the people who let it happen are being held accountable.
Because of journalism, the truth was set free.
The reason the rest of the world heard survivors stories and testimony over the week of Nassar’s case was because of journalism.
In an era of “fake news” and an administration constantly encouraging its citizens to distrust the media, think twice.
Journalism is a record of history in the making.
Journalism changes lives and changes the world.
The examples are endless. Just recently the world saw the backstory of a newspaper risking it all to unleash the lies told about the Vietnam War to the American public in the film “The Post.”
The film depicts journalists at The Washington Post, who were threatened to be sued should they release the now famed Pentagon Papers. They ran the story anyways because the public needed to know.
It’s not a one time deal.
In 2002, reporters on the Spotlight team at The Boston Globe uncovered a history of sexual abuse in Roman Catholic churches. They shed light on an issue ignored for decades with their reporting despite living in a community essentially ran by the church.
The work these reporters — these newspapers — change the world we live in as we know it.
The reporters at the New York Times and The Washington Post recently revealed multiple of Hollywood’s biggest stars stand accused of being perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault — beginning a revolution in society.
If it wasn’t for the work of journalists, we wouldn’t know what the truth was. We wouldn’t know what we are supposed to know. Our leaders in office, no matter the level or position, would not be held accountable.
When identifying the media with claims of bias, inaccuracy or having an agenda, remember the platforms that are accurate — the ones that are in search of the truth. Don’t let the few outliers make you forget the importance of news organizations.
Think about the work that changed the society you grew up in — the work that will protect you in years to come.
The work that will protect you from ever coming into contact with predators like Nassar.