Driving on I-95 at 8 a.m. from Kendall to Little Haiti is not for the faint of heart, especially when Bismark Rodriguez has a radio show at 9 a.m. Bismark rushes through traffic, biting his nails, sweat dripping down his forehead, grabbing the wheel with his left hand, while he yanks his hair with his left.
It’s about 75 degrees. There is no humidity and the sun is barely shining because clouds inundate the Miami sky. “I need to make it on time. What am I going to write about? Is what I read last night at home sufficient for today’s three hour show? What happens if something new happened? Do I know enough background to open the lines and have a discussion? Will I sound like an idiot because I won’t know what’s happening?”
Questions like these circulate in Bismark’s brain, while he drives to the Union radio station. “I admit the internet has made me lazier. I depend on it for everything. I don’t even interview sources anymore because I depend on what I read, including blogs,” Bismark said before he entered the studio.
Many journalists who work at Union Radio, in Miami, admit that the internet has made them lazy. “Before, I would hunt down for interviews. I remember going to people’s houses asking them for an interview. Now, I just do e-mail interviews. It’s good enough,” said Mario Vanega, who hosts a political talk show. “It’s efficient. But, it’s not the same like interviewing someone face to face because at times you don’t know if the words are being typed by the person you want to interview.”
Some journalists admit that the internet has made them lazy and fat.
“I used to run around chasing after those I wanted to interview. I would host a show from a different place of the country. I would chase politicians. I liked it because I moved around instead of sitting on my fat ass at the station,” Bismark said.
According to wrongdignosis.com, 39.8 million American adults; more than 57% of American adults are overweight. In fact, many businesses encourage their employees to exercise. For example, at the Miami Herald, reporters and employees receive an e-mail a day about what exercise classes they are going to have throughout the day. Journalist in the news desk no longer run around and search for information on books. They simply click away.
Bismark says that he has to use the internet. He also works at a gas station because what he makes off the radio show is not enough to support him and his family. He studied journalism at UNAN, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua or National Self-governed Nicaraguan University.
“At times, I don’t even write the news I am going to read on air. Basically, I read directly from the website, then I add my own two cents,” said Bismark.
Many journalists think the internet is a great tool, but some say it makes reporters do a sloppy job. “I don’t attend any government meetings or conventions because I can see the live telecast via the internet, says Juan Meza, who reports for the Miami Herald’s neighbors section. “If I am too busy cause of some other job, I see the meeting directly from my computer. The negative about it is that I can’t interview anyone because I am not present, so it’s hard for me to depend on politicians, Meza said.”
For Bismark, he nearly faced a lawsuit when he reported false information on an anonymous political figure from Nicaragua. He read an internet blog that described a political individual as a murderer and a homosexual.
“I thought it was great news. I read it and I received a ton of calls. The ratings where up for that day,” Bismark said. “Then others called me to tell me they didn’t trust my work.”
Lucky for him, the individuals dropped the charges. Bismark apologized to the public, but says he continues to read blogs because he finds them interesting.
“It gives the people something to talk about,” said Bismark.
Ramon Vargas, who constantly follows news, says that you can’t depend on the media because it reports a lot of false information just to get attention. Recently, there was a blog that read that seven NFL stadiums were going to be bombed. It turned out to be a false alarm. Some young whacko was the perpetrator. All of the media reported on it and many citizens were scared.
“I took it to the heart because the media makes it believable, but I think it’s now more about ratings and sponsorships; it’s no longer about informing the general public of what’s going on and the truth,” said Vargas.
In one case, Miami Herald columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Leonard Pitts had his article published with another persons name claiming that he wrote the article. Pitts wrote a column defining plagiarism and how unethical it was. The one who committed the act was fired.
“In the old days, you wouldn’t have this because there was no such thing as copy and paste. It’s more like write and edit, now-a-days,” Bismark said.
The pubic feels like journalist aren’t doing enough investigative reporting for they can help disclose frauds and corruption. Vargas says the media is being brainwashed to hold back on certain news because they want to focus on the brief stories published on newspapers website.
By having lazy journalism, we will increase ignorance of what is going on in the world Vargas said. Information for citizens is very important in case of an emergency and if a reporter doesn’t do a decent investigation, then the pubic would have missed out on a certain issue. If the public is not properly informed, then they won’t be able to attend any city meetings to speak their minds on certain issues. “It’s all about being honest to the people,” said Vargas.
Blogs are a scary phenomenon. Some journalists say blogs are untrustworthy. Many editors tell their reporters to just take into consideration of what blogs say, but not to believe everything they read because it might not be true.
“Every now and then we have some moron he sends us an e-mail telling us of an issue, but when we get there it’s only a lie,” Mario Rubio, editor of El Nuevo Diario. “We can’t trust those things.”
“The internet is the opium of the masses,” says Kevin Richards, professor at Florida International University. “Journalist are watchdogs and we aren’t doing good jobs cause of the internet,” he said.
Rubio says that journalist our losing credit for being the freedom fighters that they used to be.
“In the Vietnam war, we had journalist in the war. Now, we have journalist who get feeds, but aren’t present and get credit for a half ass job,” Rubio says.” Some of these reporters have lost their credibility. They don’t hustle to get the news.”