Journalists, we failed.

We gave Trump’s racist and sexist dialogue platform. And we never saw what was coming.


It’s 9:15 p.m. PST, I am sitting alone in my living room drinking a gin and tonic while the numbers for Trump rise. My dogs are asleep in the kitchen oblivious to the fear and panic inside my heart, inside my soul. I envy them.

Looking at my Facebook feed I see many people freaking out, looking to blame someone for this horror happening in our nation. I wish I could pass the blame, that I could say it was the third-party voters who did this.

I want to scream that America has fucked me as a Chicano faggot, but I can’t. Instead I must blame myself as a college journalist, and my fellow professional journalists. We, the fourth estate, the watchdogs and muckrakers, have failed our nation.

How? We have allowed ourselves to become a hub for listicles and quizzes and catchy headlines. We have abandoned the fundamentals of journalism in favor of clicks, views and money.

We have done a disservice to our audience and thus, we have failed our nation. But there is still hope. We can still try to make things better.

The path to the election was wrought with insane coverage of Trump and his cronies; of emails and pneumonia, of grabbing pussies and Benghazi. We, as the press, covered these issues as our duty but we lingered. We stayed because we discovered Americans couldn’t look away and it drove numbers. And we like that. Numbers pay our bills, keep us warm and fed. However, there is more than to our job, duty, than hits.

I grew up wanting to be a journalist because I believe people deserve to be told the truth, good or bad. I saw journalists as warriors for justice sworn to protect the weak and disenfranchised from a corrupt and broken system.
I am 27, I have seen the country go through some tough times and I feel it in my bones. I feel old, feel scared, and I am disappointed. When I was a child, I saw politicians fear the press, and I saw reporters stand up to bigots and lies.

What happened? What happened to the David Carr’s and Edward Bernstein’s and Anna Politkovskaya’s and other muckrakers?

It’s hard, I know, to try and report the serious news when people only want “fun” things. It’s hard when an audience cares more about the Kardashian’s than the legality of a candidate’s tax history. I understand this, and believe me when I say I feel you. I feel the struggle, but I also feel the call of duty.
I am a muckraker, born not made. I am dedicated to reporting the facts and not giving a fuck if I make a fortune doing so. If I have to work two minimum wage jobs to keep myself alive, I will, as long as I can continue to report.

So here is my challenge to you, my brothers and sisters in arms, ink and code: do better. Be unafraid to say no to listicles and quizzes and Kardashian’s and advertorials. I know that money is important, and I know many of you have families. But we make the rules.

As journalists, we provide the news to our people in a format that works. We can change the way people consume news and what they want. There are brilliant minds in our field and dedicated people who work in dangerous situations to get the story. And with all that power, isn’t it possible we can provide real news so that Americans will never, ever in history elect a beast like Trump?

The score is 244–215 to Trump. I was thinking of ways to leave the country, but I can’t. I made a promise to my audience, to Americans that I will work hard to keep them informed and I will do that. I will spend the rest of my life doing journalism not because it makes me money, but because it is what we need. It’s what I need, and I’m sure it is what you need too.