Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lessons from the Rocky and journalism as a calling

John Temple, former editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, has a blog.

And in it, he recently wrote this wonderful post for editors, and I have to link to it here, because I relate to the following quote on a soul level:

"Almost everybody in your newsroom got into this business with the hope of fulfilling some type of higher calling. You need to connect with that desire, feed and encourage it and show how new approaches to reporting the news can do just that."

Yes, yes, resounding yes.

From a similar standpoint, these are some words from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver who spoke to journalists at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, quoted in a column published in the Daily Camera:

"Journalism is a vocation, not a job. Pursued properly, journalism should enjoy the same dignity as the law or medicine because the service that journalists perform is equally important to a healthy society. I really believe that. You form people. You form the way they think and the way they live their lives. So journalists have a duty to serve the truth and the common good."

I believe journalism is about informing, sharing, connecting, educating and helping. I believe it is a public service. And I believe it will never "die," because I know there are others who feel the same way. I believe that it is a calling, and callings have suffering, hard work and dedication threaded through them.

"The best journalism does not just fill the human mind with facts. It touches the heart. It roils your gut. It moistens your eye. It kicks you in the nuts. Objects can’t do that, only people." (Steve Buttry)

I believe that journalism, at its best, comes from the heart.


  1. Great quotes. I think journalism deserves a lot more respect than perhaps it gets currently. I agree that good journalism doesn't just provide people with facts, but tells intricate and beautiful stories and touches the heart. These are the types of stories that people need to hear! It puts a human face to otherwise intangible issues

  2. @Akhila - Exactly. I was just reading about the intersection of narrative and investigative journalism, and I think if you can include both elements in an article, it creates a great palette where these kinds of pertinent, human interest stories can really thrive.

    P.S. I finally updated your new blog link on my roll. I was wondering why it seemed like you hadn't updated on a while!

  3. Although I don't work directly in journalism, I am consumed with online (new) media each day and I have to agree with you. I think that the sharing, connecting and helping others aspect about journalism is important. How can that go away? I definitely see it oscillating, but that doesn't mean it's going to die.

    Thanks for your optimism and thoughts, made me smile today! :)

  4. @Grace Boyle - I agree; I don't think it will "die" or disappear. I'm sure of it. There are too many people out there who really want to make a difference and want to use journalism as a means to do it.

    Glad my post made you smile!