Dan Balz, political correspondent for The Washington Post—and a principal voice in the coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign—believes that “this is a truly fabulous time to be a political reporter.” The historic election we’re in the midst of, he says, “has been a reawakening to the central role that journalism plays in the advancement of democracy.” Speaking on Tuesday to the Class of 2008 at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Balz shared the wisdom he has garnered over the thirty years he has spent covering politics for the Post, giving advice to graduating journalists and reflecting on his own tenure in the field. “To say that I have loved every minute of my career as a political reporter is not an understatement,” he says.
Balz, like CJR, has his concerns about the way we cover politics, both on and off the campaign trail—“we talk more and more about less and less,” he says, and “we do less reporting than we used to do”—but overall, he is optimistic about political coverage and the wider landscape of reporting and storytelling. “None of us should be pessimistic about journalism itself,” Balz says. “This is an extraordinarily exciting time for anyone in the business of news and information, a wonderful time to be a journalist.”
Listen to Balz’s speech here.