New England Newspaper & Press Association
Good afternoon.I’d like to start by saying thank you to the New England Newspaper & Press Association. Thisaward comes at a wonderful surprise and I’m flattered and honored to accept it.Before I take off, I’d like to comment briefly about what we’re doing at Roger WilliamsUniversity. Let me start with the most important thing: Just this year -- this semester, welaunched a NEW journalism major. We’ve been teaching journalism for decades BUT wedecided to launch this major because we wanted New England and the country to know that we’re serious about journalism.Oddly, some of our peer institutions have been moving in the opposite direction: Did you hearabout this?
folded its Journalism School and
in Atlanta just announced it was shutting down its journalism program.Now, I understand that I’m speaking to a group of newsroom survivors. I know that theindustry trend has been one of
. And here I am up here saying that we’regrowing... not shrinking. Which leads me to answer the next question:
Why are WE growing?Let’s talk about something I think we all believe: Absent any licensing process; absent any Barexamination; there is really only
true credential for any journalist:
What we do -- what we all do -- is practice
the “Craft of Integrity.”
Journalism is about gathering facts, checking the facts, and presenting the facts -- AND, when we get it wrong, we CORRECT the record. This is the practice of integrity AND in auniversity setting, what discipline could be more important?Now, in the modern age, the Internet has placed the megaphone in the hands of theindividual and I can’t help but wince at the amount of CRAP that seems to find its way intothe public discourse. The Internet has become this moshpit of information -- some good, most bad -- and increasingly, the public is having an impossible time figuring out what is fact and what is not.I mean -- my god -- hasn’t YouTube become a playground for the talentless?