Thursday, May 14, 2009

Journalism fine and fun: Ken Paulson

The president of the Newseum, ex-USA Today editor, lawyer and one-time head of the First Amendment Center (who visited WIU a few years ago with a musical-journalism road show) encouraged varying interests and reassured young journalists in an interesting Q&A in the new Quill magazine.

A couple of excerpts:

How have you balanced journalism and law?
There’s a lot that overlaps. When you think about it, both professions attract people with strong verbal and writing skills. And in both professions, people gather information, distill it down to its essence, and then present it to an audience. The only difference is journalists present that information even-handedly to the public, and lawyers present that information with a spin to a jury. They are tremendously compatible. I think a law degree is a tremendous asset if you’re a journalist. The best thing you learn in law school is critical thinking. Journalists have much more fun than lawyers.

Do you have any advice you’d give to journalists?

To anyone entering the field, you should really shake off the doom-sayers; the notion that newspapers are dying is a myth. There are literally hundreds of newspapers in this country and, especially [those] in smaller markets, they are weathering the recession just fine.

Check out the whole conversation --