The circus is in town.

The last few weeks prominent members of the Greensboro community have been embroiled in sensational antics orchestrated by a small group of ringleaders. And I’m here to argue that it’s a distraction.

I understand that I’m young and relatively new to the journalism industry. I didn’t go to J-school and I didn’t study journalism in college. But in the last five years of working week to week, interviewing sources, crafting stories and putting out a paper, there are a few things I’ve learned about what journalism is and is not.

At its best, journalism is a tool to hold the powerful accountable. Journalism is not a tool to be used frivolously without sufficient evidence.

Secondly, journalism should be for the people. It should always reflect the community’s highest needs. Journalism is not an avenue for a select few who are driven by their egos to go after their own personal hit list.

Here, let me define community: To me, community is the amalgamation of the people in our cities, the ones that work our streets, our cafes, our stores, who vote, who protest, who show up and make change and fight despite the odds against them. They are the ones journalism should be uplifting, protecting, working alongside. The community is not a handful of old, well-off white people, specifically white men, who want to take up space to fling their shit at each other whilst the rest of us are forced to watch.

The community is comprised of the people who are forced out of their homes unjustly, the ones losing their rights to their bodily autonomy, the ones who are being forced back into the closet, the ones fighting to be paid a living wage, the ones who continue to be marginalized.

Let me be clear: Holding the powerful accountable, of course, includes being critical of our city leaders if and when they abuse their power. But an over-exaggerated, overanalyzed, over-focused attention on a single person led by a few people who have a collective axe to grind only serves their privileged group. Many of us don’t even have an axe to wield.

So my question is, who asked for this? The community?

Because I would venture to guess, not so much.

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