“Then you’re a journalist”

Journalism is storytelling with a purpose. That purpose is to provide people people with information they need to understand the world. The first challenge is finding the information that people need to live their lifes. The second is to make it meaningful, relevant, and engaging.

Engagement really falls under journalist’s commitment to the citizenry. As one reporter interviewed by the team of our academic research partners put it, “If you are the kind of person who, once you have found something, find that you are not satisfied about knowing it until you figure out a way to tell somebody else, then you’re a journalist.”

Part of a journalist’s responsibility, in other words, is not just providing information, but providing it in such a way that people will be inclined to listen.

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism, 2001, p. 149.

Note (Oct. 3, 2005): The original entry included only the quote that’s now in bold. The comments helped me realize that it might be useful to add some context :) The way I read the quote (and the reason for posting it here) is that journalism is based, in part, on the desire to share with other people what you know.


  1. This describes perhaps 85% of my living family, which mostly consists of characteristically Italian stock.Get enough wine at the table and, according to this definition of “journalist”, you’ll have a raft of Pulitzer candidates by the end of the night!

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