In defence of journalism, a seemingly unpopular topic if you're to go by social media comments or protest signs.
My former profession is apparently part of the axis of evil, a key player in whatever is the latest greatest conspiracy on YouTube.
It doesn't gel with me. I know journalists — I used to be one. I spent a year at the University of Canterbury studying journalism, including media ethics and law, and loved it.
Two of my alumni are the wonderful Kathryn Ryan, on RNZ's Nine to Noon, and the Herald's business editor Liam Dann, although most of the rest of us are no longer working directly in journalism.
Yes, writing a column, like this one, is not being a journalist, although it does have to pass a test of accuracy (although there are plenty of examples where you have to wonder whether the editor decided the words "opinion" covered a fair bit more than a reasonable person would consider).
Not every so-called news site is actually independent news run by trained journalists. And with the massive growth in internet-based information masquerading as news, I do understand why people can group it all together and write it off.
However, I do not. I still believe that journalists, by and large, are driven by seeking the truth and speaking up for the underdog. That they seek to ask the hard questions (honestly, ignore the raw footage of news conferences — they ask what sound like silly questions to help get quotes to use in context later).
Of course, there are examples of the "gotcha" type interviews that can be very frustrating to listen to, or sometimes things taken out of context (often due to space limits) but the role of journalism in our society is a vital one, when done properly.
I am friends with a good number of journalists and know their character and motivations. While we may have access to Fox News now (with its very clear ideological position — conservative), in New Zealand there is very little of that in play.
The detail around the merger of TVNZ and RNZ is just coming out now. I'll be looking into that but am confident it will have clear boundaries and protections around its independence.
This recent criticism of government funding and therefore influencing local issues reporting is misguided. That is a wonderful investment in telling local stories that have been under served in recent years. I'm certain there are no contractual requirements to tell good news through those and if you've read their stories, you'll know it's true.
Journalists have never graced the top of the most trusted professions, I know, and there are always a few that let the side down from time to time (please, Mike's Minute by Mike Hosking is NOT journalism).
But if you need a boost back into why journalism matters, check out a few of the fantastic true stories that have been converted to film, like the Spotlight, The Insider or The Killing Fields, and get reconnected to why our Fourth Estate matters.
Nicola Patrick is a mum of two boys, a Horizons councillor, leads Thrive Whanganui, is a Green Party member and has a science degree.