Journalism is foundational to democracy. Journalists speak truth to power and ensure all voices are heard. But mistrust in news is increasing and independent local news – and local journalists- are more threatened than ever.
Yet, across the country, hundreds of local journalists are still striving every day to uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics and serve their communities – and not only by keeping them informed.
“My curiosity can play a role in educating, inspiring, and informing people.”
“Everyone has a right to better understand their community and what goes on in it.”We want to share with the world who we are and why we go to work every day to report the news.
“Journalism [is] a means to prompt community members to get involved.”Where we’re from
We were born and raised everywhere from New Jersey to Haiti to Alabama. We started our hometowns’ first papers and grew up in towns of just 100 people. We’re from the South and from Northern Michigan.
“The truth has the power to heal us.”Some of us move a lot, but we love to be involved in the community, wherever that may be. Many of us love to travel, aiming for every state and destinations from Australia to Fiji. One journalist’s project took her on a 10,000 mile road trip visiting newsrooms across America.
“I became a journalist to help others & to fight for the viewer. We have power with our platform. We must use it for good.”How we serve
Local journalists serve their communities every day by uncovering challenges and helping people understand issues, because we cannot make our communities better if we do not understand them. But journalists love and serve their communities when they’re not at work, too.
“I have a deep passion for storytelling and impactful, thoughtful journalism that inspires change in the community. Local communities deserve that voice.”We volunteer at home and abroad, spending our spare time with organizations ranging from humanitarian aid to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Some of us are active on our parish councils, run our own non-profits or volunteer at the zoo. We work with people with special needs, veterans, law enforcement organizations, and kids in need. We became organ donors after family members received the gift of life. One local journalist’s son’s health journey inspired a series profiling examples of courage in the community.
“Each day, we get a chance to teach a master class in humanity and leave people better than we found them. It’s a profound honor to have the opportunity to inform, inspire and impact people in the community I call home.”
Who we love
The people we love inspire us every day. From spouses, some also journalists, to children, furry and human. We have tweens and young children. Best friends from camp and childhood. We’ve rescued cats and dogs – or been rescued by them. Our bunnies named Monster, Frenchies called Stanley, and best fur friend Brutus keep us going every day through long hours, breaking stories and disaster coverage. We’re inspired by the people we come home to.
“I'm a journalist because I love being able to tell the stories of my community. Positive or “negative, I try to deliver the news with heart and compassion.”
What we do
In the midst of long, busy work hours and community service, we try to find time for other things we love. Reading, writing and blogging are part of who many of us are. We bake and garden. Some of us collect PEZ dispensers or record albums. We love music—just ask the journalist who moonlights as lead singer of 2 rock bands—motorcycling, metal detecting and Krav Maga.
“I love the power of storytelling and its ability to help people see the invisible.”
Ever sobbed during an episode of “This is Us” or watched every episode of “Friends” multiple times? We have too. We love Judy Garland movies and Justin Timberlake, one of us enough to have been to 5 of his concerts. We keep active and de-stress by playing ice hockey, swimming, golfing, running marathons or power walking. One of us might be teaching your next yoga class or in your pickup basketball league.
“I love telling people's stories. I love providing an outlet for stories of inspiration and hope. And I love that these people trust me to do their words, stories and lives justice.”
Why we report
We do what we do every day because through outstanding local journalism, we can widen our world and better serve our communities by telling the stories that matter. We asked our members to share why they’re passionate about journalism, and again and again we hear that journalists are ardent about serving their communities.
- “We act and hold people accountable. We give the voiceless a voice. We also have the ability to inspire, engage and communicate with people across all platforms 24/7.
- “Many times people feel alone, but through my storytelling, I can help them connect with others going through similar situations.”
- “I get to uplift people even if the news is bad. Reporting taught me everyone's truth is important. It's my responsibility and privilege to tell it.”
“We're all in this world together. Every story is the chance to do some good.”
Throughout April, follow #ThisIsJournalism and RTDNA.org/thisisjournalism to meet local journalists, learn more about us and see how we’re committed to our communities.