Preserving Freedom is
the Journalist's Greatest Reward
truth makes freedom possible.
That's the answer I
give to high school and college students who ask
what rewards they can expect if they choose
journalism as a career.
I also tell them that
the rewarding aspects of working as a journalist
- the thrill of
meeting people and the enjoyment of
writing about them and the events they
are responsible for.
- the knowledge that
your work (the writing, editing and
photography) affects the lives of
thousands of people every day.
- the prospect of
making a name for yourself in your
community and beyond.
Other reasons for
choosing a journalism career are told in the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund's
Here's a sample of what that book, The
Journalist's Road to Success,
journalists have a mission that goes beyond
making a name for themselves or making a lot of
money. The good ones will achieve both fame and
fortune, but they will make it to that level
because they have a more important career goal.
Their goal is to ask good in-depth questions and
to write and edit honest and fair articles for
newspapers, including school newspapers. That
dream is made possible by resisting all attempts
by elected and appointed officials and others to
restrict the free flow of information to readers
-- to the community, the nation and the
A more serious answer
to the question of what rewards are in store for
the young journalist would be that the work of
news people is vital to keeping our nation and
our society free.
That has become crystal
clear since the tragic events in New York City, Western
and Northern Virginia on September 11, 2001.
The free flow of
information is the main element that separates
our nation from many other societies on this
The sad thing is that
so many Americans don't appreciate this aspect of
our freedom ... The First Freedom ... and will
never fully appreciate it until they travel to
other parts of the world to witness how others
struggle to live in the absence or near-absence
of the truth.
The absence and
distortion of the trust is what drives some to
commit acts of terrorism.
The supreme job of the
journalist is to deliver the truth.
Is there any higher
calling as a career?
This article was
written in April 2002 by Tom Engleman, program director
of the New Jersey Press Foundation.
Information about newspaper careers, how to choose a newspaper for
an internship or job, and the future of newspapers is available elsewhere in
this web site.