And during these 25 years, I have been threatened in different ways; nothing too grave compared to places where journalists are jailed or killed for doing their jobs. But now, for the first time, I feel that I won’t be able to fulfill my journalistic pledge. A new media law has gone into effect in Ecuador. Under this law I wouldn’t be able to print the story about the miners. The law censors me. Under its terms, stories of crime and corruption will not be reported. Now I have to learn a new meaning of journalism, one that serves the government but not the citizens. Shall I call that journalism?

Monica Almeida is an editor at El Universo, a daily newspaper in
Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Brenda Butler

Journalism is for the people. It is community-centric yet global in perspective. It is to inform and enlighten; to expand the dialogue; to probe and provoke; to stimulate and engage; to show the way or present another way; to open the doors and to uncover wrong; to give the voiceless a megaphone.

Brenda Butler is executive director of Columbia Links, a high-school journalism, news literacy, and leadership program in Chicago for at-risk teens.

Andrew Revkin

On a complicated, fast-forward planet enveloped in information, journalists who thrive will be those who offer news consumers the same sense of trust that a skilled mountain guide provides to climbers after an avalanche. A sure trail cannot be guaranteed, but an honest effort can. Cronkite’s “That’s the way it is” no longer applies. Authority will derive less from an established media brand than through the constant scrutiny of the crowd. Effectiveness and impact may still come sometimes through a competitive scoop, but more often through collaborative networks in which insights flow in many directions.

Andrew Revkin is a science and environmental journalist who writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times’ op-ed page.


Michelle Chavez

Remember the days when we relied on the newsboy to give us the latest happenings in town by tossing a tightly rolled bundle of newsprint on our doorstep? I don’t. The newsboy has long since traded in his bike for a mobile device. People today share news updates through social media, forwarding information from a news source or from a friend. News outlets have gone from being the sole providers of content to asking citizens to contribute information that journalists will process and forward back out. Now that anyone can provide “news,” people assume that everyone can play the role of the journalist. But it’s not that easy. In fact, the bombardment of information reinforces the idea that we need journalists now more than ever.

The Internet has made it possible to access news and information quickly, but it also has made it easy to disseminate inaccurate or misleading information. It is more crucial than ever that we be able to distinguish fact from fiction.

That’s where the journalist comes in—and where it becomes clear why the term “journalist” should not be used loosely. News outlets are supposed to provide the “final word,” the most accurate, up-to-date information. This implies that consumers should be able to trust the information they get from journalists. Too often, though, these outlets, in an effort to break news and be the first to report something, sacrifice accuracy in the service of speed. Mistakes, they seem to think, can be corrected later if necessary. Who is there to trust for that “final word” if the news industry plays this speed game? If journalists want to maintain—or regain—the respect and trust of the public, they need to deal with this dilemma.

Michelle Chavez is an incoming freshman at the University of Maryland, majoring in broadcast journalism.


Clark Bell

The Editors