The Power of Journalism in a divided time
I gave a speech recently on the importance of Public Broadcasting and autonomous journalism in an era of a lot of confusion. Here's part of my comments:
Properly sourced, carefully edited journalism, with no other agenda than to provide truth and context has always been important to help citizens gain knowledge and understanding, but perhaps now, unlike no other time in history is it paramount for the future health of our state and nation.
A former editor of mine often used the phrase-Journalism is the oxygen of democracy. He didn't coin the phrase, I don't know who did, because although a quick google search will give me lots of answers, that is not how ethical reporters should conduct their work.
We in the Alaska Public Media newsroom and the reporters that comprise the journalistic muscle across the state through the Alaska Public Radio Network, take our responsibility to the truth very seriously. Our only power, comes through the accuracy of our work.
There is a sea of data sloshing through servers, computers, social media and your phone every single day. Hundreds of thousands of stories, some vetted and trustworthy, many others, not so much.
How do you know where to go for trusted information? What kind of media literacy tools are needed for our citizenry to feel confident that they can believe what they are hearing or reading?
We all have biases and mine is for truth, even when it's painful and unpleasant. Even when I don't like what it reveals about ourselves and our society. My belief in the importance of providing clear, distilled information that helps people make good decisions for themselves, their families and their communities has kept me in journalism for 24 years. The majority of that time has been in public broadcasting because that's where I have consistently found more credible journalism than any other outlet.
We've brought you joyful profiles of Alaska pioneers and terrible breaking news of deadly plane crashes. We work hard to humanize the issues and break down wonky policy so you can understand what it means and why you should care. Why it's relevant to your life.
I work with young people who are decades behind me in experience but out in front of me in digital media savvy. I am constantly impressed and re-inspired to continue what is a stressful profession because of them. I see the earnest commitment in their faces each morning when we discuss the reporting plans for the day. They work hard to get it right and they believe in the power of unbiased reporting to help provide the lifeblood of a thriving society-- knowledge and understanding that leads to respect, compassion and less fear.
I believe in them and I believe in what we do collectively every day. I hope that you too believe in what we provide. We're in an era of unprecedented attempts to confuse issues and divide our citizenry. To get news you can trust, come to our more than 40 years of service in the state and feel comfortable knowing that you are getting the clearest, most objective information we can provide. Thank you.