More for journalism grads 2011: Think about NOT waiting

Robert Krulwich, to Berkeley Journalism School Class of 2011… excerpts below, but just click that link and read the whole thing.

I’ve tried, but excerpts just don’t do this one justice. Peabody Award winner Krulwich starts with a nice summary of the “little satisfactions” of journalism; later, he tells some “old days” stories for contrast; eventually, he does a better job than most at pointing more than one way toward the future. By the end, it’s a love story.

Some excerpts, anyway:

So how do you taste more of what you tasted here, which (if I can presume) includes the thrill of occasionally writing a good sentence, of asking exactly the right question at the right moment, of making two pieces of tape fit perfectly together, of getting to meet new people, go new places, see things unfold… these little satisfactions of journalism… how can you have more of that?


I am here to tell you, that you are stepping into a world that is riper, more pregnant with newness, new ideas, new beats, new opportunities than most generations of journalists before you. You are lucky to be you, very lucky, though you may not be feeling it at the moment.


Journalism doesn’t have to be your first love… or your only love.  You can come to it in desperation, because you can’t think of anything better to do with your life, that it’s this or the abyss.But once you get going… it helps if you love it…

What you love can differ, but the love, once it comes, that feeling of waking up with a kind of eagerness, a crazy momentum that pushes you into your day, an excitement you realize you don’t ever want to go way… that’s important.


When you talk or write or film, you work with the music inside you, the music that formed you. Different generations have different musics in them, so whatever they do, it’s going to come out differently and it will speak in beats of their own generation.The people in charge, of course, don’t want to change. They like the music they’ve got. To the newcomers, they say, “Wait your turn”.

But in a world like this… rampant with new technologies, and new ways to do things, the newcomers… that means you… you here today, you have to trust your music… It’s how you talk to people your age, your generation. This is how we change.


Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.

DO go read the whole thing. If Berkeley puts the audio of this speech online, I’d recommend downloading into an iPod, setting it to “loop,” and playing it as you go to sleep… Let it work its way into your dreams.

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in communication, Future of news, Journalism

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