Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Everyone: Embrace these 3 traits

By · Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Three traits that can motivate anyone — not just journalists — are:

Courage: to pursue all stories, not just the easy or familiar ones; to ask tough questions; to approach sensitive issues with confidence and care.

Patience: to wait for the best source of information, not the usual go-to person; to take time asking questions; to accept weakness and failure in yourself and in others.

Perseverance: to politely pursue difficult-to-reach sources; to ask a key question more than once — in different ways — when an answer is not forthcoming; to tolerate change.

When we say these traits can motivate “anyone,” we mean all consumers of news and information because they are at the receiving end of journalists’ work. Consumers end up, we hope, being fully informed; being educated; being enlightened; and being entertained.

It takes courage, patience and perseverance for people to trust the news and information they consume. These are tough times for journalists, and they must not give up or despair.

Consider action taken earlier this month by The Daily Orange, the independent news organization run by students at Syracuse University. Following an “industry trend,” the D.O. is “cutting a day of print production to better focus on digital storytelling.” No more editions will be printed Tuesdays. Print versions will be available on racks Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (Friday print editions had been eliminated previously). And the D.O. will “continue 24/7 online news coverage.”

Sam Ogozalek, editor-in-chief, says in the story about this change that “the paper’s staff on Monday nights will focus on digital content, such as podcasts, photostories and interactive web applications.” His quote illuminates the decision:

“I think everyone sees where the news media industry is and where it’s going.”

Yes, we all see it. And we must embrace it with courage, patience and perseverance.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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