International situation that emerged by the beginning of the XXI century, and transformations that took place at this time have demanded a rethinking of the role and place of journalism in the world. Thus, we are going to discuss the challenges faced by journalists and investigative reporters as they pursue truth and deliver information in the interest of the public good, paying specific attention to “Gonzo Journalism”.
First of all it is necessary to mention that the term journalism, in a broad sense, is a form of human creativity, where the basis of profession includes objective coverage of all sides of reality. Nowadays a journalist has to do operational search of relevant information, to complete its selection, testing and refining the reliability of journalistic material of a particular genre. It is widely considered opinion that the primary function of journalism is to form public relations and to create an information channel between the state and society.
Being a journalist it is necessary to remember that journalistic practice is not only creativity, but it is primarily a responsibility for each spoken and written word, the ability to communicate objective information to the audience. Journalism is faced to a big variety of challenges in its main spheres today, because every day something new happen in the world, and the internet, full of different true and false news, became an integral part of our life too. Thus, we can mention that the last global financial crisis has exposed the fragility of all public institutions, including the media. A problem is not in disappearance of popular newspapers or media channels, but in the mistrust between people and media. The mistrust is a big challenge to journalistic profession; moreover, the mistrust has become global. We can find its demonstrations between nations and religions, between business and society, between the government and the individual. Mistrust as a terrible virus eats away everything on its way, everything humane in the world.
Some researchers stated that journalists and investigative reporters bring people down with a waterfall of facts and news, but they can not explain the essence of events. Sometimes it is sad to state that journalists are of little interest to ordinary people seeking protection in an unstable and aggressive world. Media content is devoted to the powers in politics, business and entertainment. We can see that group indifference to the reader ricochetted on the journalism and its foundations. The main mission of journalism is to pursue truth and deliver information in the interest of the public good, but mistrust in relations between journalists and people challenged journalism to new problems (Kuhn & Neveu, 2002). Let us explore the fact that the internet, like very popular place to find information is ready to drown the reader in a sea of different information. But it is only illusion, because information doesn’t change its quantity, but it changes its quality. Reading different articles it is necessary to say that lion’s share of the internet content is rewritten for many times, everywhere is similar information or even emptiness. “Information noise” displaces valuable information, and copywriters – journalists; moreover it has a place because virtual space is less susceptible to control, but Internet audience is scattered and fickle (Herbert, 2000).
Explaining the relevance and potential of what is referred to as “Gonzo Journalism” in the frames of our discussion it is important to emphasize that “Gonzo Journalism” can not be useful from a scientific point of view, because the subjectivity of descriptions of events can not take a sober look at the subject of journalistic investigation. Definition of the term “Gonzo Journalism” shows that the main difference is in own experience and reasoning of the journalist (Hames-García, 2004). Exploring examples of gonzo journalism it becomes understandable that not an event makes a reporter, but vice versa – a reporter makes an event. However, gonzo journalism is a brilliant of social and political journalism from a cultural point of view. Indeed, in this case the highest value is the opportunity to plunge into what is happening with the author, to understand the way how the author feels surrounding atmosphere and how he/ she thinks about the events with an unexpected angle. In addition to previous words, we can add that nowadays it is considered that gonzo journalism allows to feel the spirit of freedom; in other words, for the gonzo style it is important not so much what is happening but how it feels by journalist, what emotions the event provoke in creative soul of journalist or investigative reporter. Thus, the revolutionary spirit of this approach to usually dryish journalism, where the main goal is to bring facts to the reader, can scarcely be overestimated.
In conclusion, we can state that it is rather hard to be a journalist in contemporary reality, because our life is full of challenges, but exactly this profession allows people to show truth to audience, to realize own creative potential; and gonzo style helps people to destroy rules and go forward against general opinion, changing the world around them.
Hames-García, Michael. Fugitive Thought: Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice. University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
Herbert, John. Journalism in the Digital Age: Theory and Practice for Broadcast, Print and On-Line Media. Focal, 2000.
Kuhn, Raymond & Neveu, Erik. Political Journalism: New Challenges, New Practices. Routledge, 2002.