Humans says Vargas Llosa, “They began, after inventing the language, to tell stories”. Can be. But it is possible that they rather invented language because they had something to tell each other, and that very soon only the stories were able to express to some extent everything that had to be said between them.
Telling (what) happens is probably the oldest profession in the world, with the permission of everyone else, because before what happens, men have no other defense than to narratively assimilate it. In reality events have not been consummated as typically human events until they are counted. The fact that we have nothing to say is hardly a fact, and without stories to tell it will vanish.
And it is that stories and information are part of reality finding its meaning and making it available to those who share it with each other, forming a certain common sense, a certain society. Otherwise it is impossible for us to celebrate, denounce and regret or hate together. Hence, stories are not only what we tell about what we do or happen to us, but a main part of what happens and we do.
Telling what happens is also giving shape to what happens. In fact, from what happens and happens to us, we know what we know because we tell it to ourselves as we tell it to ourselves. So the media are not only a substantial part of the identity and form of our communities, but of what happens to them and how they assimilate it narratively, that is, in common.
The public to which the stories about what occurs are the foreshadowing of the meaning of the public in human societies. That was the Homeric narratives, the classical theater, the Gospels, modern literature and now also the media. Until the facts are recounted they have not happened in public and, therefore, the public itself has not been constituted or has not recognized itself as such.
There is no human society that, in order to be so, can dispense with the public space that makes up the multiple and crossed disputed narrations about the meaning of what happened and the direction of what must be done. In this essential social mission, each one participates in his own way, the professions of literature, poetry, history, sociology, economics, philosophy or journalism. What is typical of journalism, it seems to me, is to give what happens the nature of the public, that is, of what happens in plain sight and judgment. In this sense, they are like squares or public places and socially fulfill what such spaces in cities: they are the center.
It is, therefore, the main public infrastructure as such, as decisive even as the institutional network of services or material infrastructure. It is not a question of minimizing the importance of these, but if the structuring of a territory and a community depends on the network of land and institutional roads that distribute the resources, the community itself only establishes itself as someone tells what happens before others that, for that reason, are known and taken by something common.
The effect of all of the above is that those of us who read the same story about what happens discover ourselves being aware of sharing the same fate, no matter how many and how great our differences are. “Luck” (in Latin, sors), meant a part of farmland separated from others by its boundaries. Sharing the same luck is sharing the same place in the “draw” of who we are. In fact, every neighborhood means exactly that, namely, sharing a common fate. Strangers who unite to assume the same fate become “consorts”, but if they unite to share the same fate only in public, then that “consortium” is called neighborhood or, better, citizenship.
To know it, that is, to know that in the public sphere and unlike others, we have the same fate, is to know ourselves as a singular community. Giving news of what is happening to us, and telling the meaning of what is happening in public, is as much as constituting such a public, because communities need to know it to be: we are INFORMATION.