When I came to Iowa State, I had no idea what it meant to be a journalist. My idea of a reporter was a man in a trench coat and fedora writing down notes on a pad of paper, something out of a noir film. Even though I couldn’t see myself as a journalist, what attracted me to the field were the values of journalism. Truth, accountability, transparency and oversight. Unsure of where I would end up professionally, I knew that building a foundation on these values would set me up for success. As I look into a career in political communication these values will continue to guide me as I step into a career.
I hope that my work embodies these values and that I can contribute to legacy of great journalists this country has produced. I want to contribute to an informed electorate which in turn creates a healthy republic. That starts with covering this current administration.
In the current news landscape, especially surrounding politics, we expect campaigns to be treated like horse races. We watch legislative battles like they are military campaigns. We have come to expect our news to be entertaining. We tune in to see the talking heads shouting at one another. We get online and frequent the sites that agree with our own opinions. We’ve hidden ourselves away in our personal echo chambers.
We have a chance to change that.
In comparison to the last five years, this current presidential administration seems boring. During his presidency Donald Trump was constantly in the news for something he said, did, or tweeted. And if he wasn’t in the spotlight someone from his administration was. The first year of the Biden administration was not without conflict or controversy. But the White House has not radiated constant news like it did during the previous administration.
I see this as an opportunity to reset as journalists. To return to the journalistic values and practices that helped create an informed nation. We have a chance to model our work off the
legacy of great reporters like Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, and Iowa State’s own Hugh Sidey.
Sidey’s reporting carried with it an aura of integrity and responsibility. He was admired and respected by his readers and the politicians he worked with. Roger B. Porter, one of Sidey’s collogues, noted that Sidey’s integrity, the respect he gave to others, and the optimism he carried with him influenced those around him as well as his reporting.
In many ways, these qualities are relics of an era of journalism long gone. But they don’t have to be. I will work to cover this administration, as well as all future administrations, with the values of truth, accountability, transparency and oversight. Values that will help inform a nation. This is a cause worth dedicating our lives to. I hope to dedicate mine to it.