By Gwen Mariano | May 24th, 2007
As many students around the country celebrate their graduations, be it high school, college or graduate school, some are embarking into the journalism world and becoming a new generation of journalists.
The underlying question is: will this generation have learned from the generation of journalists who preceded them and the ones before that?
In light of media issues regarding Don Imus’ remarks to Jayson Blair’s plagiarism and fabrication scandal, this new crop of journalists will hopefully have seen the responsibilities of what it takes to be a respected journalist.
Having a solid education is one factor for these new journalists, but another factor to help these new journalists is basic, and that is, mentors. There is always a need for mentors, particularly mentors who come from minority groups.
For one, many new journalists are themselves from different ethnic groups and need the encouragement that, they too, can succeed in journalism. In addition, mentors can serve as true role models, rather than those, such as Imus’ and Blair, who have shattered their respect and integrity in the journalism community as a result of being irresponsible.
In reference to the Imus issue, Gwen Ifill of PBS remarked that “With freedom of speech comes responsibility. The freedom of speech does not give freedom to shoot off character assassinations.”
Ifill raised an important point and such points are the kind of guidance that new reporters need to hear from veteran journalists.
In sum, mentors are needed to teach those responsibilities, be it ethic responsibilities to freedom of speech responsibilities. Hopefully through that, a new generation of journalists will emerge to change what’s going wrong with the media now and make it even better than anyone could ever have imagined.