Journalism is in turmoil, as it always has been and always will be. This is a good thing. If the debate over what journalism is, who performs it and how it should be done were ever to cease, the great the American experiment of self-government will be over and the forces of tyranny and hegemony will have won.
This site is dedicated to exploring, celebrating and clamoring for one side of this debate, the continuing existence of professional news reporters. By “professional” I mean those who earn their weekly shekels trudging through the dark innards of government and society, wrenching the facts from the clinging murk of spin and deceit and revealing the invisible to an audience. This site exists to support a single, fundamental principle: in order for republican democracy to exist, a strong, independent group of people must be able to devote themselves full-time to documenting, uncovering and providing perspective on the human condition, free from all fetters save their own consciences.
I believe I offer if not a unique, certainly a rare, perspective on journalism, its influence and its current state. I have seen and experienced the power of journalism from both sides of the notebook. I have caused pain, and I have experienced pain (causing it hurts less). I worked in the news business for 23 years, as both a reporter and editor. I spent an ugly 17 months in state government. I have made legions of mistakes and won a few awards and I have returned to where I began as a freshman news-ed major at Marshall University, a kook for First Amendment values.
Over the next several months, I will attempt to address some of the issues plaguing journalism. I will examine the definitions of “news” and “reporter.” I will explore the intersection between the First Amendment and money (there was a reason the nation’s founders protected “the press” as a private industry). I will explore some of the historical criticism directed the press (and its owners). I will offer perspective on the latest trends, such as the investigation on homeland security funds by California Watch.
This site is aimed primarily at reporters, aspiring reporters, students, academics and journalism industry watchers. But all those interested in journalism, the First Amendment, news reporters and the fate of self-government are welcome.