Words matter. Journalists, of all people, appreciate the power of the reporter’s pen and voice. Yet in newsrooms across the country, we continue to use language that squashes innovation and holds us back from transforming our newsrooms at the pace needed to match the digital disruption around us.
So here’s a New Year’s wish and a challenge to news leaders and storytellers: five culture-killing phrases to stop saying, or at least actively challenge, in the new year.
This response to ideas sends the message that there are rules, and those rules are not to be questioned but are simply to be obeyed. Or, as a colleague concisely put it to me recently, the takeaway is: “Be quiet. Your ideas don’t matter.”
If our audiences were growing, news revenues were robust and sustainable, and trust in media was high, I’d be more sympathetic to simply following the old rules. But none of that is true. The core principles of journalism (like accuracy and fairness) do endure; but we should be relentless in re-examining our practices — how we do what we do.
After decades working in local TV newsrooms, I now get to see this issue from the other side. Here at the ASU Cronkite School and at other fine journalism schools across the country, we are graduating a cohort of mission-driven, motivated, multiskilled journalists. Bonus: They happen to be mobile-first digital natives, members of the next generation of information consumers. Who better to help us reimagine and reinvent our