Transforming the Transformable

We know it’s not a whisper around town that people say journalism is a dying breed. You can pretty much go anywhere and hear the problems of journalism falling out of the media, or being run into the ground, or losing its grip on society. Honestly, even as an aspiring journalist myself, somewhat believed the rumors I’ve heard. I didn’t want to, but, unfortunately, it started to sink in.

That is, until I was able to hear Dean Baquet speak at the Foster-Foreman Conference about a week ago. I was stunned by some of the things that Baquet directly said about the present and future of the media. I couldn’t imagine some of the things he said coming out of his mouth. I was pleasantly surprised, however.

Picture's worth a thousand words.

Picture’s worth a thousand words.

Baquet, straightforwardly said that he was, “Jealous,” of perspective journalism that were just coming into the field today. How could a man be jealous of students who were going into a “dying breed”, an industry that may not last too long? And then it hit me. Maybe, just maybe, journalism isn’t as problematic as we thought. Maybe, we can not only prosper, but thrive, in this industry.

Possibly my favorite quote, and the reason that it sits in my title, reads, “You have the chance to transform a craft that needs transformation.” That stuck with me. A craft. I really never thought of it that way. The fact that not only are we joining journalism to start a career, but to also hone a craft. Baquet, being a great speaker, didn’t stop there. He gave incredible advice, stating, “Take a job that will let you learn and listen,” and so much more.

I didn’t know what to expect when it came to this conference. I had never been to a speech such as this. I was incredibly surprised and impressed with the way Baquet carried himself, spoke directly and respectfully, and made sure he left a lasting impression on every student in attendance.

It was great to get insight, and more importantly reassurance, on the situations and future that surround journalism. Baquet even believes he can, “Foresee a time, that may be already upon us, where we know exactly what’s ahead of us.” It’s great to know what’s ahead of us, even if it’s problematic, because going into our future knowing what’s ahead of us is majorly better than not knowing at all. We, at least, have a vision for the future.

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6 thoughts on “Transforming the Transformable

  1. The career vs. craft paradox definitely stuck with me too! What do you think he means when he describes journalism as a “craft”? What comes to mind for me is doing something that takes skill and practice. Before taking COMM 260, I never really understood the genius that goes behind news writing. Lori has made it clear that journalism is kind of like an art, and the more you do it, the better you get. I think it’s also important to note that a craft, in comparison to a career, is something that is enjoyable–it is something that is fulfilling.

    • When it comes to calling journalism a “craft”, I think he is trying to get across that not only is journalism a career, but it’s something much more. When he talks about a craft, I think he means the craft is something that we have to enhance over our lifetimes. I like that you mention something that is enjoyable. A craft cannot be worked on well if you do not enjoy what you are doing. I hope that we can continue to love what we do while learning and transforming our craft.

  2. Baquet’s comments about honing a craft also stuck with me. I love how passionately he spoke about the importance of enjoying the field of journalism, rather than just starting a career. I also like your paragraph about being prepared for the future. It was nice that Baquet was able to tell us what aspects of journalism to focus on, since multimedia is advancing and younger people are being hired as producers.

  3. I agree with all of you. Before taking this class and before Dean Baquet’s interview, I never really understood the true craft of journalism. I always thought that it was a pretty simple process to go out and interview someone, get a story, write and publish it. But, now I see that there is a lot more work that goes into the full process of getting a news story done – not to mention all of the guidelines that must be remembered and followed. It was also very reassuring to hear Baquet speak so positively about the future of the industry. I always hear people talking about how journalism and newspapers are “dying,” which was never something I wanted to hear as a journalism major. However, Baquet noted the changes that were taking place and then explained all of the good things that can come out of these changes and all of the potential jobs that they could create. His words will surely stick with me and help me stay motivated.

  4. I like how you differentiated “craft” and “career” because I don’t think journalism will ever be an occupation you enter for the money. The “craft” aspect of journalism, I think, is the joy people get from telling great stories and doing a public service.

    I’m curious if y’all think that journalism as a “craft” and as a “career” are compatible.

  5. Hmm, Bobby. I’m going to turn that on you. If you are a carpenter — and I think we can agree that working with wood is a craft? — then do you have a career as a carpenter? Why or why not? And would journalism be any different?

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