I can speak for almost anybody when I say that when I heard Dean Baquet speak in the Foster-Forman Conference on the 29th, I walked out of there with a uplifting feeling that the field of journalism is not a just a field that is fading, but one that is rising. The way that Baquet spoke about the future of journalism was revitalizing to a young journalist in the making because of his optimism towards the future of the field. It was nice assurance to know that my career could blossom when he said, “This is a great time to enter the world of journalism”. Especially in economic times like these, for the managing editor of the New York Times to say that is reassuring.
One thing that really caught my attention during Baquet’s speech is when he spoke about what his biggest fear would be in the field of journalism. “My biggest fear and only fear with the ability to do things unimaginable. It won’t be the newspaper that will die, the craft of reporting and witnessing will be lost. I learned to report by trial and error.” I took this comment as an important aspect to pay attention to while growing as a journalist. He surfaces a valid point; us journalists need to be eager, and prepared witnesses in the midst of the action. That is when we can truthfully report a respectable analysis, and not just sitting in a desk chair waiting for a phone call.
I walked into the Foster- Forman conference with one big misconception about the field of journalism. I viewed journalism as a very competitive field. I thought that ethics were completely thrown out the window when it came to who reported the best story first. When Baquet answered a question regarding whether to publish or not to publish a debatable topic with immense competition. He responded by saying “ Your ethics are your ethics…if your competition choses to do it; that’s their ethics… if you change your ethics nobody will know who are you”. After Baquet answered this question, it put a smile on my face. It is really great thing to know that a paper as big as The New York Timesdoes not throw their morals our the window, they stay true to what they believe is the right news to report whether their competitor may report it instead of them or not.
Baquet came into the conference, spoke about many journalistic values and what we have to look forward to in our careers as journalists. It was a great conference to listen to, especially to stay enthusiastic about the forthcoming events in my career.