So, yeah, I teach journalism at Missouri State University, and sometimes I wonder what that means. Journalism is a complex undertaking and has many manifestations. And students have many reasons for taking journalism as a course of study.
As a baby boomer who got into journalism because I was inspired by the events of the early 1970s and the journalists who covered them, I have a natural predisposition toward news — especially coverage of politics and governance. That predisposition can be off-putting for students who aspire to write for “brides” magazines or cover sports for television. My job, if I’m doing it right, is to show them (teach them?) that the skill set and ethics are largely the same. If I’m doing it right, they should never feel their choices are second class — because they are not.
OK, I’m coming around the barn now. There’s a development that has the boomer journalist part of my identity feeling a bit excited and perhaps an equal part wistful: The debut of the Missouri Independent. It’s a non-profit news organization dedicated to covering politics and governance in Jefferson City, Missouri. It’s part of a larger effort to start/fund such news organizations in state capitols across the country.
I wish them well.
I’m also going to be paying careful attention.