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Values


Ukraine media verify, make sense
of news, help keep people from despair

 

"The country needs weapons to defend itself, and the media need to be able to support journalists

so they can continue to work,”  a Ukrainian publisher told Greg Piechota of the International News Media Association. Publishers Oleksandr Chovhan and Oleg Horobets share their

thoughts on the current media landscape in Ukraine.  Chovhan is the chairman of the 

Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukrainewhich represents 20 publishers across

Ukraine, with 100 local news brands. Horobets is the CEO of RIA Media, a local news publisher

based in Vinnytsia in central Ukraine which publishes four newspapers and employs 48 journalists.

Greg Piechota: Firstly, may I ask how are you, guys, holding up? Where are you? Are you safe?

Oleksandr Chovhan: I am in Vinnytsia. I sent my family abroad, and they are now in a refugee camp. Never in my life I thought my family would be war refugees, but it is what is. 

Piechota: How are the Ukrainian media holding up? Are all of the 100 newspapers and sites associated with AIRPU live?

Chovhan: Yes, all publishers are up and running. People are very passionate, but the problem is they won’t work long fed only by passion. The revenues from advertising and copy sales went down to zero overnight.

Most newspapers stopped printing. There is no newsprint supply, and the distribution network has shut down. 

Piechota: If there is no printed press anymore, where do Ukrainians get their news? 

Chovhan: Web sites and social networks are working fine. The best news coverage right now is on Telegram [a social network] and on television.

All major TV companies united and broadcast one newscast across all the channels. Journalists from different channels stopped competing and are working on this one news product. The quality is very high. Everybody watches it.

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Iryna Shevchuk, a reporter for Kazatin.com, works in a bomb shelter together with her 5-year-old daughter Veronika. INMA photo.

Piechota: You mentioned Telegram is another source of the best coverage. Whose channels do you follow?

Chovhan: There are many channels: by the media, by the government, and by individual journalists. It’s partly professional and partly user-generated content. In our city, even the emergency sirens were replaced by Telegram notifications.

Horobets: Telegram is the people’s home page. When there are links, people can, of course, continue reading articles on publishers’ Web sites.

Before the war started, the Telegram channel of our “20 Khvilin” newspaper had 1,000 followers. Today it has 10,000 followers. Before the war, our Web site was generating 50,000 daily page views. Today it is 100,000. 

Piechota: What news and information people are looking for?

Horobets: The most-read content today is community announcements. People in Vinnytsia formed dozens of volunteering groups, which collect the goods and provide services for the city’s self-defense, the wounded, and refugees: bulletproof vests, boots, food, medicines, rides from one place to another. People announce what they have or can do, and others announce what they are looking for. They match up online.

Secondly, people seek verified news about the war’s development in their city, their region, and the country. 

Thirdly, people are looking for updates about any changes to everyday life. Public transport schedules changed completely. Drinking water is delivered only at certain times. Shops open just for a few hours, and many goods are missing. There are problems with card payments. Fuel and medicines are running out.

Chovhan: Many people are following the president, [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy. His media team is broadcasting daily news shows on Telegram. 

It’s not propaganda. It’s fact-based coverage, honest and straightforward, but also humourous. For example, the government ordered the removal of road signs and landmarks to help disorientate Russian troops, and now many direct them to “go f*** themselves.” 

During World War II, the war chronicles were dead serious and solemn, and now they are entertaining while informative. The war is a show — horrific but also in some odd way funny. Humour helps to release the tension of the nation. Zelenskyy is making people fear less.

Piechota: We see two wars unfolding in Ukraine: one is the military invasion, the other is the information war. What role do you see for the independent news outlets? 

Horobets: Verification of information is the single most important job for journalists today. We are flooded with fake news, and we need to help people show what is a fact and what is not. 

Making sense of the news — summaries and analysis — is the second most important job. News coverage on Telegram and news sites is very fragmented. Major channels release thousands of notifications every day. Literally, my phone buzzes every minute. The news media needs to filter and provide a bigger picture to audiences. I think this applies not only to Ukrainian but also foreign media.

The third job of journalists is to keep people away from despair. We need to show them not only all the bad news but keep balance and show that the country still works. Authorities work. Soldiers fight. There are heroes, and there are successes. 

The fact that media outlets still send messages is important, too. When people get an alert from Ukrainska Pravda [in English, Ukrainian Truth, the major national outlet] or their local newspaper, they know the country and the city still holds. “Ukraine has not perished yet.” [It’s the first verse of the Ukrainian anthem.].

But even if Vinnytsia falls and Ukraine falls, we will continue publishing. We’ll go underground, or we will publish online from abroad. We will publish forever. 

Piechota: Many Western publishers are looking for ways to support Ukrainian media and journalists. What help is most needed today?

Horobets: We are facing many challenges. The cities face electricity blackouts and the publishers’ servers may go down quickly. Our back-up generators can keep the servers up for two days and that’s it. 

We appealed to the Western tech companies to help us move the Web sites to the cloud, and thanks to our media colleagues from all over the world we got connected with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. All of them responded quickly and offered help. This problem is now being resolved.

Chovhan: One thing, though: The Russian government is trying to intimidate Western tech companies and make them block the Ukrainian Web sites. 

For example, our member in Odessa, Odesskaya Zhyzn [in English, Odessa Life], received a warning from a German hosting provider to stop spreading “false messages” or face a take-down. Germans acted on a complaint filed by the Russian Prosecutor General. Basically, Russians are trying to censor the war coverage in Ukraine using the Western hands. It’s outrageous! 

The access to safe data servers in the West is critical for the survival of the free press in Ukraine. Tech companies cannot assist Russians in terrorizing Ukrainian publishers.

Piechota: Anything else we can do?

Chovhan: The best way the West could help Ukrainian media is to help us pay salaries to journalists. An average monthly salary of a local journalist in Ukraine is just €400, but as publishers have no revenue, they won’t be able to keep the staff. We are not oligarchs. We don’t have dollars stashed in the basement. We don’t need more training from the West. We know how to do journalism and how to stay safe. The country needs weapons to defend itself, and the media need to be able to feed journalists so they can continue reporting.

 

Want to help Ukrainian media?

 Donate to the Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine via Patreon, or connect directly with Oksana Brovko, CEO of the association at brovko.oksana@gmail.com.

• If you’d like to team up with Western publishers that organise institutional and individual support for Ukrainian media, contact Joanna Krawczyk of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation in Poland at joanna.krawczyk@agora.pl. They coordinate with publishers, journalism associations, and foundations across Europe.

Greg Piechota is researcher-in-residence and Readers First Initiative lead for the International News Media Association (INMA). He can be reached at grzegorz.piechota@inma.org.

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Journalists run for cover during heavy shelling in Irpin near Kyiv. Reuters photo by Carlos Barria.

 

Why a free press matters

now more than ever

Around the world, authoritarian governments are seeking to extinguish free expression and dissent. We're doing what we can to help journalists do their jobs and protect their rights.

Threats to democracy are growing daily around the world . From Hong Kong to Belarus, governments around the world are seeking  to extinguish the very freedoms guaranteed by the United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights. An informed populace is freedom's last best hope.

The World Free Press Institute is a California-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in 1997.  We work to improve, support and strengthen a free press in its role as a government watchdog  and opponent of tyranny around the world.

 

Our goal is the education of students and working journalists in the skills needed to maintain independence and credibility in a free-market economy, and especially in communicating cultural heritage issues.

 

We offer training programs, on-site assistance, and expertise in media business and management issues. We also provide a wide variety of journalism skill programs ranging from basic reporting and editing to sophisticated specialty reporting techniques in all areas of traditional and new media. 

Funding for our programs has been provided by UNESCO, the Ford Foundation, the Eurasia Foundation, the Upjohn Foundation, Friederich Ebert Stiftung, the National Geographic Society and private individuals who share our commitment to the free exchange of ideas and information.

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What we do

Training in fact-based reporting

We work with individual journalists and media organizations on a broad spectrum of training issues including fact-based reporting, critical media consumption skills, leadership training, capacity building, investigative reporting, environmental reporting and financial sustainability. We structure our programs to meet the needs and requests from journalism groups, and create programs using trainers from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

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Free press support

Journalists in repressive countries are often isolated, prevented from sharing their thoughts and insights by repressive governments. Our programs bring together bright journalists to learn from each other and make connections that can be invaluable in repressive countries.



Pictured: Tatiana Repkova, WFPI, Slovakia, and Lawrence Mute, a constitutional law expert in Nairobi.

Specialized reporting

Journalism organizations request the types of training they feel would most benefit them, and we assemble experts in that field to provide training. In one case our program focused on environmental reporting for journalists near the failed Chernobyl nuclear reactor. In another, we brought together journalists from neighboring African countries at war with each other to discuss peace reporting. We host workshops in journalism ethics and ways basic principles can be adapted to fact-based local reporting.

In photo, Sam Mbure of the Network for the Defence of Media in Africa hosts a panel discussion.

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Encouraging empowerment

Irene Bwire of the Tanzania Media Women's Organization and Gail Talma of the Seychelles Press Association find common ground at a workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Evaluations of the programs showed journalists felt the relationships and shared insights were valuable

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Our programs

In the past two decades our programs have included  sponsoring meetings of journalists in regional centers across Belarus, university-sponsored programs in Hungary and the Czech Republic, and a UNESCO-sponsored symposium of journalists from 17 East African nations meeting together in Nairobi. We've produced programs for local journalists in Russia, Hong Kong, Egypt, Hungary, Uganda, Czech Republic and many other countries. We've learned that journalists speak a common language.

Belarus media support

In many countries, journalism is considered a crime. Reporters are hounded and editors jailed. We discuss ways reporters can protect themselves. In this photo, constitutional lawyer Mikhael Pastukhov and public defender Yuri Toporashev of the Belarussian Association of Journalists provide insights to reporters  in this seminar.

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East Africa  assembly

Kifle Mulat, president of the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association, describes the state of the media in his country.  Kifle has served multiple prison sentences for publishing an independent newspaper, as have many of his peers.

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Education & outreach

Often journalists in developing countries have not had access to journalism education programs. We see our mission as broadening perspectives on what is news and what audiences seek. In this photo, WFPI trainer Marcia Parker prepares for a session on business and financial reporting.

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Management training

Every newsroom - even small ones - need an understanding of setting goals and laying the ground work to meet them. Competitive issues are a critical part of this planning and play a role in whether a news organization can be sustainable. Human resource problems can be devastating to a young company. We hold management symposia and encourage critical thinking.


In photo, newspaper editor Lullit Michel of Addis Ababa describes a branding strategy to strengthen her paper's competitive advantage. Less than two weeks later, her newspaper, the Daily Monitor, was shuttered by the government.

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Opportunities for networking

Being a journalist in an authoritarian environment can be a lonely calling. Opportunities to meet with peers and discuss challenges facing them can be extremely valuable. We attempt to bring talented journalists together to share their problems and solutions. Many reported meeting peers for the first time at the conference even though they lived and worked a short distance away.

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Tracking corruption

Many countries are not able to win financing from international banks or foundations if their country has a history of corruption. We have insights into how journalists can track money entering the country to see how it is spent. In this photo, investigative reporter Bob Porterfield, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, discusses overseas sources of information on grant funding and investment by foreign corporations and how that can be useful.

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Digital media

All of our trainers have experience in digital media, and in every program we discuss what has worked and what hasn't in the group's experience.

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Our mission

The World Free Press Institute is a California-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 1997. Our mission is to improve, support and strengthen a free press in its role as a government watchdog  and opponent of tyranny around the world.


Our goal is the disinterested education of students and working journalists in the skills needed to maintain independence and credibility in a free-market economy, and especially in communicating cultural heritage issues. We offer training programs, on-site assistance, and expertise in media business and management issues.


We also provide a wide variety of journalism skill programs ranging from basic reporting and editing to sophisticated specialty reporting techniques in all areas of traditional and new media. And through our Maya Archaeology Initiative we support cultural heritage education, protection of Maya antiquities, and biodiversity in the Guatemalan rainforest.


Funding for our programs has been provided by UNESCO, the Ford Foundation, the Eurasia Foundation, the Upjohn Foundation, Friederich Ebert Stiftung, the National Geographic Society and private individuals who share our commitment to the free exchange of ideas and information.

Our mission

The people behind WFPI

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President, World Free Press Institute

Clay Haswell

A reporter, editor and media executive for more than 40 years, Clay was managing director of the Associated Press for Asia and the Pacific. Previously, he was AP bureau chief for California and Nevada, and also worked for the Australian, the Christchurch (NZ) Press, the Anchorage (AK)  Daily News and the Contra Costa Times. After leaving the AP he was CEO of a company that built social networking platforms for students in Asia.

Contact
About us
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Our story

We began working together in 1997 when several major foundations asked us separately to provide training for journalists in Central Europe. After collaborating on several projects, we  decided be more efficient if we worked together.  For two decades we worked together on international training programs, augmenting our efforts with expertise from local journalism professionals.

We've had success getting grants from multiple organizations to support our programs. We've learned from experience how to relate to journalists from different backgrounds and traditions.

But careers intervened.

We were at points in our professional lives when promotions and increased management responsibilities overtook our ability to collaborate on projects. Postings to opposite ends of the earth took us out of proximity. 

Now, with more time of our own, we continue to be committed to making free expression not an ideal but a reality. We continue to believe we can help journalists in need of support.


After a hiatus, we decided to resume our efforts and share whatever we can with aspiring journalists.

In photo, Saminya Bounou of Comoros accepts a diploma for completing a training program.

Our story
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Inside a WFPI seminar

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Getting together as program begins

An informal cocktail party breaks the ice as a seminar begins.

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Program leaders from different backgrounds collaborate

At the start of a program in Nairobi, trainers Patricia Made of Zimbabwe and Tatiana Repkova of Slovakia discuss presentations on HIV / AIDS coverage.

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Learning from each other

Divided into teams, journalists discuss environmental reporting in the so-called Chernobyl dead zone at a conference in Gomel, Belarus to address ethical questions and coverage ideas.

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A time for celebration, reflection and goodbyes 

At the conclusion of a program in Nairobi  sponsored jointly by the Ford Foundation and UNESCO, participants get together for a group photo.

Is journalism a dying art?

A student analyzes "good journalism" - and why it is important - with the help of four leaders in the industry

 

By Lola Medina

Northgate High School,  Walnut Creek, CA, May 2024

In the age of a technological takeover, “good” journalism is, objectively, subjective; there cannot be any firm definition put on what makes journalism “good”, as the variations of facts presented in news will always have the favor of at least one reader who shares those same views. 

 

In spite of this, I found myself questioning what kinds of responsibilities come with being a journalist. With social media now serving as the breeding grounds of fake news and misinformation, there must be some qualities that are integral to the foundation of being a journalist. And in the time of such rampant fake news, perhaps “good” journalism is more important than ever.

 

So, shouldering my preconceptions about the nature of this rabbit hole of thought, I decided to pursue the burning questions: what makes a good journalist? And is this “good” journalism important?

 

Once it formed in my mind, I googled the exact question. An obvious first move, I know. Unsurprisingly, I was met with a slew of adjectives in articles; Long lists of traits and qualities essential to a successful career in the industry, the foremost being curiosity, people skills, and an eloquent writing style. All definitive answers to my question. Upon initial inspection, you might think the quest for answers was complete.

 

I thought so too, until I couldn’t find any real examples of these things. I searched, but to my dismay, I found no applications of these skills in action. No inside scoop with an actual person who embodied the traits and had the solid work to show for it. To me, the image of this ‘good’ journalist felt hazy, even discombobulated, without any real people to be emulated.

 

Inspired to pin down this broad idea, I decided to seek insights from a selection of journalists (all female) who are, to say the least, quite knowledgeable of the journalism game. 

 

Journalism as a profession was long dominated by men, said Clay Haswell, retired journalist of 40 years whose positions included Associated Press bureau chief in California and Nevada before going on to become the AP’s director of Asia and the Pacific. For that reason, he wanted to introduce me to women journalists at the very top of the profession.  “Women journalists were a rarity even 50 years ago. The few women that did land newspaper jobs often got shunted into weddings, features etc. Today, many of the most prominent editing positions in the country are held by women, and that's a significant change."

 

Bearing this in mind, I had heard enough about the prophesied story-telling prowess a good journalist would epitomize; I wanted to hear about how these abilities have actually served and manifested in the field from some of the best on the front lines.

 

Margie Mason & Robin McDowell

Investigative reporters, The Associated Press

 

Partners at the Associated Press, Pulitzer Prize winners Margie Mason and Robin McDowell are perfect examples of an insatiable drive for knowledge. Ms. Mason is a foreign correspondent in Asia and Ms. McDowell has recently been named Vice President for investigations in the AP. I had the great privilege of interviewing them both.

 

Winning the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of hidden slavery in the Asian fishing industry, both women have had several notable run-ins with dangerous situations. In fact, they specialize in “look[ing] for open secrets and then turn[ing] them upside down, so that, you know, the people see it for the first time and understand really what’s happening.” Together, Mason and McDowell did just this, on multiple occasions.

 

One such occasion was a story on Myon Burrell, a young, African American man who was incarcerated for murder at the age of 16 during the “superpredator” era. A time of vast paranoia that spanned the nation and snaked its way into everything from popular media to the United States government, the “superpredator” myth took hold in the 1990’s. Over this period, racism thrived in a remarkable wave; The unsubstantiated concept of “moral poverty,” as it was called by respected academics such as John J. Dilulio Jr., suddenly superseded the humanity of youths of color, particularly Blacks.

 

Ms. McDowell described how, as they sought to uncover the truth, “just how normal it still is for reporters to get their information when they’re covering the courts from the D.A., from the police, from the…prosecutors…and to not go to talk to the victims, the victims families, the suspects, the suspects’ families.” The issue in this was made crystal clear when she shared that even the chief public defender of the case had never spoken to anyone from the Associated Press. In the end, though, Ms. Mason and McDowell actually had a hand in keeping Burrell out of prison because of their work.

 

I found this dedication to justice awe-inspiring. But, as Ms. Mason promptly mentioned, “...most of the time, people don’t give us tips. They don’t come to us and say, ‘hey. I’ve got this hot thing, Investigate this.’ We just don’t do it like this. It’d be nice, maybe. I don’t know. Because it’s just not the way we see stories.” 

 

This simple misconception struck me, as someone who has a fair share of lingering crime-film cliches floating in my mind. A journalist can so quickly take the easy route: obtain the official reports and document the already weighted perspective, or exaggerate and sensationalize for an attractive story. Or, they seek out every account of a case to expose the hard truths. And this is exactly what Mason and McDowell continually practice in their work.       

 

Though sensationalism is a byproduct of journalism, Mason and McDowell pointedly stated that victims contribute to the problem because of their desire for publicity.

 

“Often, 90% of the story is true, and it’s such a powerful and compelling story. They don’t need to add to it, but they’ll add one little detail or…they’ll make up something…that negates their whole story,” Ms. McDowell explained. “We’ve had the Transportation Minister in Indonesia claim that…there were survivors in a plain crash and that he saw them. That they were found with their life vests on or something, which would indicate that they had time while the plane was, you know, free falling, or after the plane hit the water, they had time to put the vest on. And it just wasn’t true.”

 

Although it can be tempting to take the word of a politician or political figure, Ms Mason reaffirmed how, “[the] bottom line is, you know, even when it’s somebody official saying something, it can be wrong, and it’s a mess when it’s wrong.” 

 

Being interested in the true substance of a story beyond a flashy headliner is something that curiosity alone doesn’t cover. Real change was achieved through the actions of Margie Mason and Robin McDowell, which cannot always be said about news coverage. 

 

Marcia Parker

Vice President, Philanthropic Partnerships, The New York Times

 

Though a Vice President of Philanthropy at one of the most longstanding news organizations in the country, The New York Times, Marcia Parker’s passion for investing and uplifting progressively modern media projects is a highlight of her journalism career. 

 

Having taught at Columbia University as well as having been the assistant dean at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Parker’s traditional experience is extensive. However, she was also an integral part of the creation of the CalMatters platform, one of the most acclaimed nonprofit news organizations in the country; Ms. Parker shared how being part of the process of “building an organization essentially from scratch” was the most “transformational” facet of her career. The nonprofit model is one that is recently emerging, but has proven to rely more on volunteerism and a passion for community than any for-profit establishments. 

 

The team members of these organizations act reliably in the interests of the public, a welcome refresher from the divide in media that is caused by partisan biases present in most popular platforms (both liberal and conservative.)

 

Ms. Parker stressed also the importance of “empathy and understanding of just the human condition, the state of our communities, the state of our nation.” Referring to this sense of empathy when it comes to interviewing, Parker reiterated how “you can’t go into it without that, because if you do, then you’re not listening. You’re not being open to what you’re hearing even though you’re hearing all the sides.” 

 

This sense of model of well-roundedness is further reinforced by the fact that not only is CalMatters nonpartisan, but Ms. Parker expressed great pride in its variety of representation. “We literally tried to reflect the percentages of the…diverse people of California,” she explained, and how, “we actually…need people who represent the place where we live.” Speaking on the lack of ethnic and racial diversity in other “legacy media” (even the Times), Ms. Parker stated also how CalMatters has significantly more leaders of color, and particularly women of color. “So I liked that part that I was able to play a role, and then I’m still able to really work with and foster and mentor a lot of the newsroom leaders in the nonprofit space.”

 

Michelle R. Smith

Correspondent and investigative reporter, The Associated Press

 

Associated Press Correspondent in Providence, Rhode Island, Michelle R. Smith is another veteran who is no stranger to forging ahead in difficult stories.  In my discussion with Ms. Smith, though she laid heavy emphasis on the aforementioned curiosity that is crucial to a successful journalist, she also spoke on the importance of integrity. 

 

Beginning her career with the AP at the San Francisco bureau in the late 1990’s, Smith recalled how, “I just remember getting the message that being right was the most important thing, like, being correct. And if we get something wrong, we fix it. And that’s okay.” 

 

 The preparatory work for her most notable story, a profile on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn that was turned into a 2022 Frontline episode, began in 2017. “I was covering him kind of from the local angle, but I was always trying to push the envelope on stuff.” She explained how she covered Flynn's involvement in the Mueller investigation and how, “...all that time, I was covering him. I was building up sources, like his family members, his friends, people who knew him here locally, who knew his family.”

 

Although Ms. Smith recalled becoming swept up in the chaos of the pandemic, she recalled how upon the events of January sixth, she had still been “keeping her eye on Flynn.” Her watchfulness paid off, as was illustrated when Smith “noticed that he was hanging out with anti-vaxxers.” Gathering evidence to contribute to the investigative sub-pieces within the broader public health project, Ms. Smith’s tireless work of fact finding on Flynn landed her the Frontline story.

 

Though she focuses much of her own attention on astute observation, Smith also mentioned how she notices at times how journalists “don’t have as much of a commitment to that, or as much of that culture, where people try to kind of hide mistakes or act like they didn’t happen. And it just erodes trust with your reader, with your sources.” 

 

This sense of sincerity rang true as Smith detailed one of her most important stories, on a night club fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people and left hundreds more injured. Ms. Smith recalled how the victims had been failed not only by the government, as building inspectors had failed to catch the flammable materials used in the sound proofing, but also by other reporters: “some of them had dealt with what they described as, you know, reporters who were there for a story…and some people were saying that they felt there were some reporters who wanted to win a prize, and they felt it wasn’t really about them as a witness or someone who experienced it, but about the reporter.”

 

 Another point that Ms. Smith made was the importance of separating personal feelings when it comes to interviewing subjects. Though this may sound apathetic, it actually is meant in quite the opposite way: Smith explained how at times, people are quick to be upset with her, to think of her as “the jerk,” in her words. In spite of this, she described how she maintains both her compassion and her drive for information by being able “to kind of separate myself…and look at that person as a person. What are they going through? Have some empathy for them, it’s about them. It’s not about me. And that’s just something that I think is really important.”

 

Conclusion

 

My first thought after each interview with these remarkable women was, in all honesty, not even a real thought. More of a short-circuit, a blown-mind at the incredible work they had all described to me in such detail.

 

The vision and insights of Marcia Parker, Robin McDowell, Margie Mason and Michelle R. Smith bolster the validity of the traits listed in the numerous takes on “good journalism,” yes, but their experiences and applications of such skills in the real world are what struck me. Journalists have a defining hand in societal expectations, norms and trends; however, I personally never truly considered how balancing objectivity, curiosity and a sense of appreciation for people and their experiences is such an essential feat.

 

Question Revisited

 

So, is journalism a dying art?

 

Of course not. 

 

However, it is up to ethical and dedicated journalists to keep this essential function in a democratic society alive and well.  

 

To reflect, here are some of the (albeit redundant) central takeaways, for journalists local and global:

 

  1. Be curious, but integrate a tinge of skepticism. Do not blindly chase the most flamboyant stories that are told, as there will always be the risk of deception.

  2. Be empathetic, but detach from your own feelings of discomfort to ensure the interviewee is allowed to fully express their own feelings.

  3. Be pragmatic and continuously aware of the information that may serve you in a future case.

  4. Determination is key. Because it is significantly harder to succeed in the industry as a woman, those who are at a disadvantage must work even harder to rise above and thrive. 

 

The resolve to commit to the immense work of uplifting communities while also strengthening the integrity of their establishments is what sets a journalist and a “good” journalist apart. I had never been privy to an actual discussion of what goes into the work of a journalist, and being able to learn from the experiences of each of these women is something for which I am forever grateful.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

- Article 19,  United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights



“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy,
it is democracy.”


- Walter Cronkite

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