This series features writing from inmates at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. The articles stem from weekly programming facilitated by the Colorado College Prison Project. Through contact between the CC community and Colorado Springs, this series aims to simultaneously broaden CC’s perception of incarceration issues and provide a platform for incarcerated writers. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office requires approval of written material prior to publication and the removal of authors’ last names. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the EPCSO or the Prison Project.
What is the purpose or role of media or journalism? First and foremost, the purpose of media is to provide the opportunity for free speech. Newspapers, magazines, news, and social media all provide outlets for expression of ideas, thoughts, opinions, and facts.
Many rely on written media for information, both local and worldwide. Many rely on all media to find out what is happening, what people are thinking and talk about, along with more mundane information, like weather and sports. Many news outlets only cover a short list of topics individually; however, by looking into a variety of outlets, one can find out much more information.
Many major outlets provide a specific and guided focus for their subject matter. This focus can be guided by politics, current events, or even public opinion. Sometimes this focus serves a purpose beyond simply distributing information. Many times, it can even control, or at least influence, the thoughts of the subject audience. Often, by spreading the lessons learned by one person to many, it is a positive influence. Sometimes it provides a negative influence by spreading pre-conceived notions, whether correct or not. Mostly the type of influence is determined by the individuals and/or the company responsible for actually writing the articles.
The tone of any article or story can be set by multiple factors such as subject matter, verbiage, and context. It provides those in the industry with quite a lot of power within our society, and yet many journalists do not take advantage of that power. It shows in the high standards to which we hold our reporters and newspeople. If more journalists were to take the positive aspect on their stories, then I believe that we would see a significant change in the overall attitude of all those influenced by the media systems.