Everybody come kiss us all at once!

It’s Journalist Appreciation Day today! No, don’t laugh, this is a big deal here (#felizdíadelperiodista is the number one trending topic on Twitter). So if you’re wondering why we haven’t uploaded any stories recently, it’s because of that.

At least it’s the one day of the year in which people remember that the world wouldn’t be standing where it is right now if it weren’t for us. And hey, if animals can have their day, then why not us?

Sure, now it’s trendy to be in journalism thanks to HBO and The Newsroom. We lead exciting lives, have secret meetings and gain access to people and situations that others wouldn’t even dream of. We are the fourth estate. Thanks, nighttime television, for romanticizing our lives in such a way that many are now considering journalism school as a new (and extremely overpriced) cool thing to go to.

But the truth is that it’s tough to be in journalism these days. The industry is in crisis on a global scale primarily due to the fact that no one has a fucking clue about where it’s going or how to make money with it. And on a local level, not only do we have to deal with the precarious state of investigative journalism and a shrinking workforce that increasingly relies on a copy/paste dynamic, but we must also face the malady of polarization. Two realities, two poles repelling each other in such a way that when comparing the front pages of Clarín (anti-Government) and Página 12 (pro-Government), it seems as if at least one of them inhabits a parallel universe.

Last night, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took to Twitter to congratulate us all for the coming holiday, first talking about Ben Franklin (a private hero of mine) and the Buenos Ayres Gazette (the first local newspaper), and later tweeting this:

“But I digress. What’s true is that I want to congratulate all journalists on their day.”

“I know you’re still lock in the process of collective bargaining to get what you want. Good luck in the negotiations and I hope you end your day in a good way.”

“With all my heart, I hope you start a better day tomorrow. Workers are always workers.”

Now, from an objective point of view, I would say her tweets are a nice gesture. An attempt at patching up a rocky relationship that has been navigating turbulent waters for years.

But I’m a cynic. And as a cynic, I can’t help but feel there is mockery behind her kind words, and even a hint of schadenfreude. The press here is certainly not without fault in the current polarization of society, but she has certainly had an active role in the dissing of the anti-Government press and a passive role in questioning the professional validity of the so called “militant journalism,” which blurs the line between information and propaganda.

I don’t believe we’re living in Dante‘s Inferno, as one side says, but I don’t believe we’re living in Dante’s Paradiso either. We are living, however, in a time in which dissent is considered heinous treachery that instantly turns you into the scum of the earth. And this is driving many dissenting voices underground, voices who choose silence over ostracism.

FOPEA, the Argentine Forum of Journalists, sent us a video that was released today about the dangers of silencing the press:

“I’m always working for you. If they shut me up, I am of no use to you.”

Let’s hope it never gets to that.

Best of luck to all journalists out there, and a big thank you to our readers who validate our profession every day of the year.