September 22, 2005

Good Quotes, Better Lessons

Here is my post today from the IJJ-Poynter blog on reporting on race:

Journalists receive less training than their peers in any other profession, due in part to the news industry's lack of investment in it. It's natural, then, for journalists to rank training even higher than more pay as their top priority.

Still, I've always thought training was a poor word for what journalists need. I prefer learning - or education. Training is to learning what typing is to writing. It's a sterile word, invoking memories of safety drills, driver's ed or learning the commands for that new front-end system. Learning, though, involves creativity, stretching of the mind and mastering new skills. It's professional growth.

A great thing about journalists is that when they get togethers they learn from one another. Peer to peer. That's a huge benefit of professional development programs like the Poynter Institute and the Institute for Justice and Journalism.
Kay Mills has been doing journalism for 40 years - from Chicago to Baltimore to Washington to Los Angeles - and she's still learning, from other professionals and from other journalists. Here are some comments from Mills after a couple days at IJJ's gathering of its 2005 racial justice fellows, of which she is one. Each contains a lesson applicable to journalism.

From Kay Mills: My contribution stems from my years and years of collecting what I call cogent quotes. I want to share what I consider "good lines" from the racial justice seminars this week at Harvard.
 Heidi Pickman, independent radio producer from Los Angeles: "Economics is a very good tool for expanding the pie but not for dividing it."
 Louis Freedberg, editorial writer for the San Francisco Chronicle who is originally from South Africa and who shook Nelson Mandela's hand soon after Mandela voted for the first time in his life: "The lesson from South Africa is that change is possible."
 Brian Smedley, research director, The Opportunity Agenda: "Most of the rest of the world recognizes health as a human right."
 Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard University, speaking about statistics on race from Brazil but a comment that is applicable elsewhere: "The countries that are most embarrassed by some aspect of their society are least likely to collect data on that aspect."
 A comment from a member of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative about housing construction in Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood ravaged by redlining, arson and other ills, in the film "Holding Ground": "I believe if you build it and it's the right housing, people will live here."

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Posted by Tim Porter at September 22, 2005 06:13 AM