Last week I had the privilege of participating in Career Day for Potter Jr. High students. I talked to over 100 students about journalism and publishing. I love working with young people. That’s one of the reasons we will soon, God willing, announce our nonprofit, to further the work we’ve been doing for over 20 years with interns. The newspaper business has many opportunities for mentoring, whether it’s in writing and journalism, graphic design, marketing, bookkeeping, administration, photography or video production. There is a great variety of skills to learn.
In addition to encouraging students to limit their hours of daily entertainment on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, we talked about how the Chinese students’ TikToks are different from the ones in America. In China, it’s reported that they are not just goofy videos like in the U.S.A., but that they are science, engineering, literature, history, etc., giving their students an edge for competition in the world.
Then we talked about critical thinking, journalism, free speech and the freedom of the press. We talked about the need for a First Amendment and how no government will ever voluntarily disclose its own crimes. For that, we need brave sources who have firsthand evidence, a free press and brave publishers who are willing to bring information to the people to whom it belongs.
That is the definition of speaking truth to power and that’s the reason for the First Amendment, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.
We talked about censorship and how our citizens have the right to information. They have the right to both sides of an argument, so they can make their own decisions. We even talked about regulatory capture.
We talked about how the founding fathers, coming from Monarchies, understood how our primary and first and foremost right had to be the ability to talk, have public discourse, and have the freedom to discuss things openly, including government business and corruption. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1786, “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
We talked about how everyone is biased in one way or another, but the journalist’s job is to tell the truth, hopefully from more than one side and we talked about how knowledge is power.
We talked about how Reporters Without Borders reports at least 360 people worldwide are currently imprisoned for their work in journalism. They are, like Julian Assange, in prison for publishing or telling the truth. Truths that were embarrassing for the government.
What we did not talk about, were the things that were in those Wikileaks. That's a different conversation. We are excited to announce soon our nonprofit to further our mentorship program