Food for thought: Job of the journalist

These were powerful, insightful words.

“Right now, part of the job of a journalist is advocating for the job of journalist.”

Kimberly Humphreys, a journalist with the Rocky Mountain News when it closed in February 2009, should know.

She now works for the Rocky Mountain Independent, an online news site started by some former Rocky Mountain News staffers. She’s also director of IWantMyRocky.com, an ambitious initiative orignally started to save the Rocky Mountain News that now is trying to save journalism itself. (See what IWantMyRocky wants to do here.)

Last week she spoke  as part of panel called “Journalism at the Crossroads: After Newspapers, Then What?” aimed at journalism educators. The session was part of the national convention for  the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication held in Boston.

Humphreys noted that traditionally the editorial and business side of newspapers have been separate in the name of objectivity. Journalists did not want an appearance of conflict of interest when writing stories. She argued that the time to change that tradition has come  because this separation means journalists have no voice in what is going on in their newspapers.

“We need to pull up a seat at that table,” Humphreys urged.

Her message is an important one for journalism educators to keep in mind.  As we prepare students for the changing world of journalism, we should make them aware of this responsibility.

Good journalism depends on it.

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