Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Making journalism your mission

Thomas Huang has some advice in today's Media Channel post to keep both budding young journalists, and crusty old pros, focused on the important reasons for why they're in their profession:

In college, I studied computer science. But I also worked on the college newspaper. Late in my tenure, I realized that I wanted to become a journalist. I realized I needed a sense of adventure and exploration in my life, not simply money, status or security.

In order to set off on my own, against the expectations of my loved ones, I had to forge my own mission.

I mention all of this to say that while we all take different paths, for most of us, journalism is a calling, not simply a job. So it shouldn't be an outlandish idea that personal missions drive what we do as journalists.

These missions embody what we value most. Maybe we want to help others, or uncover corruption and the abuse of power. Maybe we want to understand and explain how things work, or create positive change in our communities.

The challenge we face, though, is that the longer we stay in the business, the more we're apt to forget why we got into it. That's why writing a personal mission statement can be helpful, because it can remind us about our passions.


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