‘Journalism is not a dying industry, Journalism is changing and the need for journalism is greater than ever,’ said seven times Emmy Award winner newscaster Bob Schieffer during the luncheon organized in his honor as he accepts the 2013 Cronkite Award. For me it was an honour to be able to listen to him live. I was watching before me a leader who has the vision and power to motivate and encourage people who believes in him.
I found Schieffer as a visionary leader with strong integrity. He hasn’t reject the power of social media/new media. But accepting the influence of the social media he just identified the facts that a journalist should take care about. “Social media is fine. Tweets and such are nice,” Schieffer said. “But journalism is not about scratching the surface. It is about going beneath the surface and finding the truth.”
‘Journalists don’t work with government we watch the government,’ this statement by Schieffer depicts how serious and responsible he finds journalism.
The question is does journalists of this time carry the same values and integrity as the early leaders in journalism as Walther Cronkite or Bob Schieffer?
As part of the Humphrey Seminar we, Humphrey Fellows, received the visit of Aaron Brown, a very well known broadcast journalist who talked to us about his personal experiences as a journalist. One of the ideas that got my attention was that news were born as a stepchild of the entertainment business. I believe this thought is accurate in a certain context: most of the news media that is provided to us and that we consume, has become a spectacle.
This is definitely not new, paradoxically. the french author Guy Debord, for example, was very aware of how media plays a significant role in modeling societies thru news or entertainment in his book La Société Du Spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle). Another author we can rely on is the american Noam Chomsky, considered by many as the ”father of modern linguistics”. The bewildered herd, term Chomsky uses to exemplify the premise that many people are in need of being told what to do and what where to go, is a concept that comes from his analysis of the societies around the world based on how mass communication works.
What we have is certain groups of power persuading the majority to act or live in a certain way. Some people are in “need” of certain expectations or believe in something, to have a feeling that they belong to whatever they believe in. This is truly legitimate, but we must analyze where these thoughts come from, and how is it that they think the way they think.
News and entertainment media have a certain degree of influence in our societies. Obviously there are degrees of pesuation, but it is true that the entertainment industry is what prevails, rather than investigative work that sometimes is supressed by authorities. Our task is to provide perspectives about what happens and these perspectives are enriched (or sometimes biased) by our experiences, thoughts, feelings and, ultimately, our own vision of life.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr
by Ivana BragaUntil days ago, Bob Schieffer was a name that eventually a heard about, one of the famous American journalists with a familiar face on TV. From now, he is one of the people that reminded me why 16 years ago I chose to do journalism. I had two opportunities to listen him on this November of 2013: one exclusive session with some Cronkite School faculties, Humphrey Fellows and attaches students; and other was his speech for a crowd during the annul luncheon at Walter Cronkite Excellence Award, which he received.
Those experiencies was valuable and special to reinforce the role of journalism today and for ever. He gave many lessons, advices and insights. If I could summarize them I would use two words: accuracy and ethic. Journalism is essential part of the democracy, as much it raise as much people demand for information. That cycle won’t to stop, people want to be feed more and more, in many ways, by different devices. The challenge is do the right thing on time. He, like me, is from one age that at least two people look over what you wrote before it be published. Today, journalists have to do it by themselves. He also alerted about social media that should no be superficial journalism. The respect for the language and accuracy on the process are fundamental.
Doing the right things is not question only the accuracy, it also requires ethics. It is coherent, once journalism is made by selection. We select the words, angle, who has voice and who not, what should be published and which not. For me ethics is when we have good answers for why we selected each one of these elements. For how many today’s headlines the answer would be public interest?
I don’t work directly in news media for almost threes years, but I don’t believe in former journalist. The lessons from Bob Schiffer continue to make sense for my job as communications consultant for NGOs, strengthen my commitment as journalist in everywhere, and as citizen that expects for responsible media contents.
These words from Bob Schieffer bring to the table several topics for debate. One topic could be the validation and accuracy of the information. Another one could be the access to the data, and there is where we are going to stay. The fact that information is being accessed from different platforms around the world in a way that we did not have before.
What is important is to understand what does a person mean by News when mentioning that word. I know this is hard to define, but what is clear; again, is that the information is there: on the Web, newspapers, magazines, television, etc, and some called journalists (and others) filter the data and present it to the public as so called news (or any other thing).
The French writer Guy Debord wrote a book called La Société Du Spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle) in which he explains how media works with information to maintain a certain status quo. One of the thesis is that, in a consumer society, social life is not about living, but about having. Media this way rely on information and images to convey what people NEED and MUST HAVE. Consequently, social life moves from a state of “having” into a state of “appearing”.
Are we informed about the issues around the world? Are we being misinformed? I think both. We can be misinformed and informed depending on the media we consume or the validations we put in place. In the end, I believe there is an individual responsibility to deep dive and investigate what is of one’s interest and, of course, no one can judge what one’s interests should or should not be.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr
Bob Schieffer, the 2013 Walter Cronkite Award for excellence in journalism recipient, answered some fundamental questions I have had about journalism? Often asked by public relations practitioners like me is the question to what extent should journalists publish leaked stories from government or private corporations. What do journalists seek to achieve by publishing classified information? In whose interest are the published leaks?
In this acceptance speech Bob, the host of “Face the Nation” and CBS News correspondent, said journalists and schools of journalism must basically recognize what journalism is in the new world.
Journalism is not about scratching the surface. It is about going beneath the surface and finding the truth. The government keeps too many secrets – we all know that – but obtaining and releasing mountains of classified information just because it is classified with no thought on whether it might harm, endanger or in fact put nation’s security and citizen safety at risk is not journalism. It is the hype of irresponsibility. We should never let someone in government think that they have an exclusive on wisdom, at the same time, we must also remember that neither do we.
In a world in which we are able to get information from thousands of sources and from various point of views, it is fundamentally important for journalists, bloggers, twitters and public relations practitioners to pay much attention to the content. Is the content accurate? Is it vetted? Is it true? Is the information something we can trust? And most importantly is it in the interest of the public?
Having watched the Fifth Estate, a film that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power through WikLeaks, Bob’s speech answered two questions of our time “what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them?”
Do you agree that publishing leaks with no regard to the security and safety of the citizens is irresponsible journalism?
The Malawian proverb “mutu umodzi susenza denga” (literary meaning one head alone can not carry a roof) means that you can’t solve problems alone. This proverb is often told to instill a sense of group superiority over the individual. This does not mean that Malawians do not celebrate the success of an individual. We do. I do. But the work of an individual is much more appreciated in relation to the group.
In my rural village when you have constructed a roof of a traditional granary, you need relatives or friends to help you lift the roof up and fix it atop the granary. You can not lift it up alone. It is close to be impossible as much as it is a taboo to do it alone.
The process of lifting up the roof atop the granary is equally important as the process of building the roof. Here is how important it is! My personal reasons why I like working in teams.
Teams help the individual showcases his or her talent
By inviting others to help you carry the roof atop the granary, you, the builder of the roof, are acknowledging that your work is complete. You are happy with it. And by accepting your invitation, your friends or relatives acknowledge your work, skill and achievement. It’s like inviting them to celebrate your success. It is a mini exhibition.
Teams help to sharpen individual talents
Before helping you carry the roof, your friends and relatives will examine the roof and either approve it as effective or not. They may make a small adjustment to tighten the ropes for it to be stronger or increase the layers of grass so that water should not leak through. The team help us to sharpen our skills and create a better product.
Teams compliment our effort.
There are situations that require more than one head. Some situations demand more than two hands. There are challenges that cannot be solved by an individual alone. You need friends and relatives to help you carry the roof atop the granary. You cannot do it alone. We need teams to compliment our effort and achieve more.
Teams propel individual skills to new levels
By carrying the roof and fixing it on the traditional granary, more people will be to see the beautifully crafted roof. More and more people passing by will be able to appreciate your work. This is possible because the roof has been put on a higher level. It is no longer on the ground. In basketball, football or soccer, the talent and skills of players is magnified by the work and skills of other team members. Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been the greatest player in basketball without being in a team.
So whatever roof you are carrying – talent, skills, or performance – you need a team.
by Ivana Braga
Friday 11 October, the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced. I’m wondering what are the chances of a journalist to be awarded? Usually when we ask about the media’s responsibility, the classic answer is a question: Is the window to blame for the landscape? And then, the discussion stops. However, when everybody is called to be part of peacebuilding, the media should be involved and take its place.
Graham Spencer, author of The media and peace: from Vietnam to the War and Gadi Wolfsfeld who wrote The News Media and Peace Processes – The Middle East and Northern Ireland, categorically say that the media is obsessive for conflict situations and violence. From the TVs guideline and newspapers’ front page, it is easily certified. In writing this post, I have searched for many examples of news culture in conflict situations, and this three-minute video about US and Syrian below illustrates it very well.
By the argument of audience’s taste, journalism in mainstream media has increased the level of sensationalism without questioning the impact of that in people’s minds and lives. As a result, the process of peace has less media coverage than violence. “World enemies” are more well know than leaders that work in peacebuilding. On the other hand, very often the media intensify political confrontation and summarize complex situations in “win-lose” terms.
For Spencer, one the roles of responsible journalism is to approach cultures, “contributes a deeper understanding of each so that judgments made about those culture and societies can be drawn on the basis of detailed information and interpretation.” Even the mainstream still is far of that; many people and groups are dedicated to questioning the media’s role, to producing their own information, to raising the awareness of the audience, and with the Internet, all of it can be made by citizens. Perhaps, these movements will show that peace also interests people, and change the news headlines.
Twelve hours ago BBC regarded French President Francois Hollande as “too hawkish” in an article on the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. Publications such as the Washington Times agree, and the outlets also put President Obama in the same realm.
While mild joy has been shared across the globe at the diplomacy in the US-Russia deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, Hollande and Obama urge that pressures should remain the same.
Contrastingly, the citizenry of both France and the U.S. concur with the media’s interpretation of the leaders’ stances: they are too disposed to a militant solution.
What’s interesting about the two leaders political leanings is they’re both considered to be socialist in some regard (Hollande obviously more so). And although socialism is by definition an economic system, it adheres to the notion that “policy should arise from the people, that [their] Labour Movement is a movement of free working men, linked together for the common cause, and that the politicians must carry out the will of the people they represent,” R.H.S. Crossman and Honorary Kenneth Younger said in Socialist Foreign Policy. (Essentially, policy is a derivative of the economic schema. Therefore policy should be a direct reflection of the peoples’ desires.)
It’s plausible to assume presidents Hollande and Obama have strayed from their political mores. More importantly, they disregard the obvious distaste their countries have for a military solution in Syria. Why?
In short, the answer – partly so – is Iran. While a media blitz followed the deliberations in the U.S. Congress after Obama initially suggested involvement, and European presses juxtaposed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s reactions to Hollande’s, Iran’s limelight was dimmed. Iran is an embarrassing menace for the U.S. and European Union and the situation in Syria is the two leader’s opportunity to have an ironclad hold on a fraction of the discord in the region. For a short while, the ever-present threat and debate on nuclear warfare has been sidestepped, making way for chemical weaponry instead.
Ironically, Hollande proposes that sanctions and other means be considered to impede Syria from using the chemical weapons – a method remotely effective when used on Iran.
The two leaders agree the deal is a stepping-stone, but no less than President Bashar al-Assad’s removal from power is acceptable, the BBC said.
Clearly the Syrian conflict is far from resolved – and whether Hollande and Obama lend their ear to the people versus their current stance will largely determine the direction the civil war (and possibly, the climate on nuclear warfare in the future).
“Leadership is influence” wrote John Maxwell author of the book “Developing the leader within you”. Maxwell observed that a leader is one who is able to influence others to follow his or her ideas or opinions. A leader is the one people watch most when discussing issues. So who is watching who between Obama and Putin regarding the Syrian civil war.
Well, we can answer this question better by looking at the position each President has taken and the level of support garnered so far.
Lets look at Obama’s stance first. Obama says: Syrian President Assad is a killer; he is killing his own people using chemical weapons. He argues Assad must be stopped, must step down, must be disarmed through military action. Whom has Obama influenced to follow his position? Did he influence Congress or the Senate? Did he win public support?
If you ask Obama and his White House’s supporters the above questions; they will hasten to tell you that the President has plenty of backing for his planned military action against Syria, both at home and abroad. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, appearing on CNN on Wednesday, claimed “there are dozens of countries that are ready to stand behind the United States politically, diplomatically, and militarily.” She did not name any country for ‘security reasons’.
In reality, only one country has pledged military support to Washington – France. Even long time ally Britain is not on board. The House of Commons in Britain rejected the proposal to strike Syria. Even US Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, has been undecided as much as ambivalent on the use of military force, “whatever they (Syrian people) accept, we accept, and whatever they refuse, we refuse.” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal is quoted on Aljazeera online news.
President George W. Bush brought to his side around 40 allies for the war in Iraq. Obama has embarrassingly failed to win even two, not for a fully fledge war, but targeted strikes.
What about President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia! President Putin message is no war on Syrian soil. He argues for a diplomatic solution. US strike is against international law. US strike against Assad would result in more innocent victims. US strike will potentially spread the conflict “far beyond Syria’s borders”. Putin does not support Obama. Instead of military action, Moscow proposes that Syria’s chemical weapons be placed under international control.
Whom has Putin influenced? Many! Iran, Syria, China, Germany, UN Secretary General, EU Commission etc. Putin has also managed to influence France, USA publicly declared ally, to support Moscow proposal albeit with conditions. And the big catch in the net is Obama himself. Obama has changed his stand from military action against Assad to “… now we may not strike if Assad gives up his weapons to Russia.”
Has Putin influenced African countries? Yes. No country in Africa is supporting the war. With exception of Kenya, African countries are not even supporting a UN resolution condemning Assad. Zimbabwe voted ‘no, along side Russia and China while Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Cameroon, Comoros and Namibia abstained.
So as the plot of Syria continues to unfold it is quite interesting to observe whose opinion seems most valuable. Who is the one others watch the most when the issue is being discussed? As of now people are watching Moscow. Putin might have eclipsed Obama. But for how long?
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club……..Jack London
Where do successful leaders draw their inspiration from? Is it from God? Is it love for money or passion to help others?
My thoughts about Martin Luther King Jr. is that he had many sources of inspiration. Wife and children, personal experiences and great world leaders before him. However, there are two sources of inspiration that I think influenced King most: game changers and change itself. I will talk about these two in a moment, but first here are my favorite quotes from King and world leaders about their sources of inspiration.
Darling, I miss you so much. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life. My life without you is like a year without a spring time which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere saturated by the dark cold breeze of winter…….King wrote to Coretta his wife.
I have a dream, that my four little children’s will grow up in a nation where they will not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – King – I have a dream speech<
…. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man – President Barak Obama
My personal inspirations are my parents. Yes, I admit it’s a bit cliché, but their voices have been in my head for my entire life – David H. Stevens, President and CEO at Mortgage Bankers Association
That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before, or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry? …….King wrote reflecting on a day he was asked to give up a seat in a bus to a white passenger
What about the influence Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi had on King. Thats a new subject or book on its own. Remember King visited the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in India in 1959 and was ‘baptized’ in non-violent protest. Three words that quickly come to my mind when thinking of Lincoln and King are braveness, perseverance and assassination.
Well, here are two sources of inspiration that had greater impact on King as a leader.
Game changing people
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group shares the power of game changing people in his ‘Who inspires me’ post on LinkedIn . He says game changers are people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.
King had plenty such characters in his team. He worked with Whitney Young, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, James L. Farmer, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph, the renowned labor leader who is credited for originally conceiving the idea of bringing protesters to Washington.
This was a team of game changers. The unrelenting ‘Big Six’ as the six organizers were referred to refused to call off the Washington March when President John F. Kennedy held a meeting with them at the White House and informed them that the march would jeopardize the Civil Rights Bill to be presented to Congress. The ‘Big Six’ stopped at nothing but reaching their goals.
Perhaps King would have agreed with Richard Branson, the Virgin empire magnate, when he says “I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.”
Change: Please Tell Me I Can’t
One of the greatest inspiration for King was the idea of change. This is what I consider to be his main motivation: changing the status quo. He was motivated by being told you can’t. You can’t sit in a bus when a white passenger is standing. You can’t vote. You can’t do this or that because you are black. This motivated King to fight on and on. And the more he achieved the impossible the more he was motivated to fight even greater impossibilities.
When he successfully destroyed the racial discrimination policy in the Montgomery city’s public transit system, he aimed for a higher goal: right to vote, economic rights, labor rights, etc. This was achieved too. The successor to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One year later, he signed the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. These achievement were even greater motivation for King to aspire for more.
Naomi Simson, Founder of RedBalloon, puts more weight on impossibilities as a motivation. She writes on the topic of ‘what inspires you’ on LinkedIn:
Tell me I “cannot” do, be or have something – and that is the surest way to inspire me into action. What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ – to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.
What do you think really inspired Martin Luther King Jr.? I would love to hear your views.
Finding the next big thing isn’t easy. If it were, more Americans would be cashing in on the trends. But predicting those trends may be as simple as talking to up-and-coming generations. They can tell you what’s in or out. And, as Business Insider reports, teens are officially over Facebook.
What does that mean for us as journalists interested in engaging a new audience where they feel most at home? It means constantly seeking new outlets for our material — everything is becoming more visual. Teens may be over Facebook, but Instagram and Snapchat are quickly rising in popularity, with YouTube becoming the latest fodder for afternoon and late-night talk shows (like RightThisMinute and Upload with Shaquille O’Neal).
I found most interesting in the Business Insider article that the author examined several different samples of teens to see what the general consensus was, not just interviewing a select few. That way, it shows the greater trend among the group and doesn’t assume what’s popular opinion or not.
Journalists and future leaders shouldn’t just depend on technology to drive their industries. The latest inventions aren’t going to just present themselves to us at opportune times for us to gain traffic and garner success with whatever messages we’re trying to send. Maybe we should be less reliant on the Internet for predicting the future.
Maybe we should be paying attention.
Leadership styles are funny. At least, that’s how some, tired of the clichés in management books, prefer to view them. I wanted to look into how humor plays into the role leaders play in an organization, but instead I stumbled on this humorous adaptation of a common style of a leadership quiz.
Now, there’s an entire industry made out of those “what type of leader are you?” quizzes. Many companies and college courses invest hundreds of dollars (if not higher) on administering these quizzes to their employees or students in order to define their personalities and pair them up with a team that will capitalize on those qualities. The accuracy of those quizzes has yet to be quantitatively confirmed, despite the many qualitative examples assuring their success (“I tried Leadership Test XYZ and my employees worked together better than ever before and increased productivity by 200%!!”).
But one thing those quizzes don’t test is whether or not you, the quiz-taker, have a sense of humor. And while having a sense of humor isn’t the make-or-break quality of a successful leader, it certainly helps in what can be a very stressful position. As a leader, one has numerous responsibilities, including being in charge of making sure other people do their individual jobs. Of course, not all things go according to plan when it comes to supervising. The ability to deal with problems as they come and look at ways to solve them creatively will make a leader far more insightful than one that only plays by the rules. And while those leadership quizzes are always eager to put you into a category, sometimes, being a personable human being who can empathize and share a good laugh with his or her coworkers doesn’t fit in option 1, 2, 3, or 4 — it’s something you can’t put a number on.
Being a leader can be all it’s cracked up to be, and much more — but if you’re not “managing to have fun,” as this article states, you can quickly lose perspective. And to conclude with a poignant quote from that article: “Business author Paul Hawken said it best, ‘We lead by being human. We do not lead by being corporate, by being professional or by being institutional.’”
By Sara Steffan
When I went looking for mobile journalism blogs or posts on the topic, many of my first hits while searching were outdated or broken links — surprising because you’d think that the mobile is on the rise and more journalists would be talking about how they’re using it. I stumbled upon a column on ReadWrite that isn’t exactly about journalism (it has more of an adjacent tie to it); it’s a journalist’s experiment with online dating using ONLY mobile apps. Dan Rowinski writes that his experience will show the relevance of our lifestyle behaviors on our cell phones to what he does for ReadWrite:
There’s actually a deeper issue here. I cover mobile technology for ReadWrite, and so I make a point of living as much of my life via smartphones or tablets as I can. Mobile gadgets aren’t just a bunch of specs and apps, cameras and wireless connections. They’re portals for information and connection – powerful computers that have the potential to transform ordinary human behavior. My goal is to see whether and how this works in person, and to report back on the experience.
What I drew from this is that the way we share information has been completely turned upside-down with the evolution of mobile. Technology as a whole in the past two decades has transformed many of our country’s industries and no doubt has had a significant impact on the economy, but it also has affected our social interactions and parts of our lives that used to be intimate/deeply personal. Such as dating — who could’ve predicted that we’d be creating virtual representations of ourselves that could be picked or passed over by potential lovers, all through the comfort of our home computers, or now on-the-go with our mobile devices?
This reminded me of the video we watched in class that showed Walter Cronkite in the “home office of the future.” Just as he thought then that we knew what 21st-century life would be like, we think we may know now the impact of our Internet habits on our changing social lives. But really, it’s just the beginning. Our behavior now may seem completely foreign to future generations using technology that, right now, is just a barely-formed thought in some engineer’s head. It’s an exciting time that surely will be part of history – and as long as we keep an open mind and willingness to experiment, like Rowinski leaving his dating life in the hands of what he calls “sometimes sketchy-looking” mobile apps, we might be at the front of the next wave of new technology, and maybe even enjoy the ride.
Would you turn to mobile apps for such personal behaviors like dating? Or do we do so already with apps that document our day-to-day activities like Facebook and Twitter? Is there even a difference?
Expectations of the federal government are extremely high. Most of the time, Americans are critical of decisions the government makes and the time it takes to make them. Through the democratic process, our government leaders are elected to their positions, and they make promises to the people while campaigning. Those promises are often very high-reaching goals that, once elected, officials have trouble reaching. I read a column in the Washington Post written by an expert in leadership and innovation, Tom Fox, and in his column he said in order to ensure the successes of federal government leaders, they should spend time defining their approach. Fox then went on to list some of the characteristics of a federal leader: intellectually curious, mentally tough, critical thinkers, flexible, results oriented and imaginative.
Thinking about that list, I came to the conclusion that yes, while expectations are very high for government leaders, most of those qualities are those any leader should have. Are all government officials good leaders? Probably not. But they still get elected because Americans don’t vote for officials solely based on their leadership qualities. It’s true that good leaders encompass nearly all of these qualities, but those good leaders aren’t under the country’s biggest microscope like federal officials are. The media and, through the media, the public rigorously examine those leaders to see how effectively they are doing their jobs. Because so much rides on whether they succeed or fail, including whether or not they are elected for another term, the pressure may affect their ability to focus on leadership. Even in our everyday lives, we think about the pressure on us to perform and achieve, but often our ability to lead gets pushed down on our list of priorities. And then there’s the debate as to whether leaders are “born” or “made” — should we administer some sort of a test to our government officials before their first day on the job to see if they have what it takes to be a leader?
While this blog has led to a lot more questions than answers, I think it’s important to reflect on those qualities Fox talked about in his column and see how our current leaders stand up to them. And more importantly, how we stand up to them and see if our expectations are reasonable for our elected leaders. If we can’t live up to those expectations ourselves, we may want to reconsider how we measure our leaders and even more, think differently next time we are voting in an election.
Reading Bill Gates’ article this week actually inspired me while writing an essay for an internship application. Needless to say I agree with much of what he says as it applies to nearly everything that we want to be successful — measurement is key to finishing what we’ve started. My essay, which I’m writing on the evidence-based approach in communication campaigns, shows how Gates’ theories can mean a better investment for a large corporation or small, nonprofit business whenever they’re seeking to improve their reputations or send a message in way that will attract the attention of their audiences. Research needs to be conducted at both the beginning, so there is something to be measured against, and the end, to see how over time if there was positive, negative or no change.
What I was concerned about when I first starting reading his article was that it was going to mostly focus on the negative aspect of measurement — how measurement can show us what went wrong and what needs to be fixed. I especially liked the example of the Eagle County teacher evaluations because that not only focused on areas to improve, but it gave the teachers opportunity to see what they were doing right and how they could build on their strengths. I think that in order for measurement to be effective, we have to focus in some way on how successful something was so we have the incentive then to replicate it. While always wanting to do better can be a motivation, measurement can be harmful if it only points out our failures. I liked the way Gates found ways to tie in the need for critical change with the need for high-quality, trustworthy systems that utilize positive reinforcement more than negative.
Not everything is measurable, Gates acknowledges. It would take a lot more money (or, a lot more philanthropists like Gates) to quantify data like disease exposure’s effect on children’s potential. But clear goals, along with a healthy dose of optimism, can help us get there. And if we can find in some way to do our due diligence and provide measurement tools at all steps of any programming with appropriate feedback systems, we can replicate the progress that things like the polio vaccination have seen — but that will take time. I’m certain that creating awareness about the need for measurement and the role of any sort of evidence-based strategic planning will help us get there.
Our team stirred up quite the debate when we discussed Billy’s choice to go up to the hotel room and hang the banner demanding Sukarno feed his people, in the emotional decision that led to him either being shot and falling out the window, or just falling out the window to his death (still to be determined). We questioned his leadership qualities in that we thought he should be able to separate his personal political beliefs from his professional duties. This brought up the term “advocacy journalism” in class, and to a certain degree, that is what Billy was doing — advocating for a change in a country he had become so connected to in a very public way.
Also we hypothesized about the metaphorical meaning behind Guy being “blinded” after Billy dies. Since Billy served as his eyes throughout the beginning of the film, helping him navigate while he ruthlessly pursued a story, it seemed natural that once Billy was no longer able to do that, Guy needed to have a moral awakening of sorts. He had so many conflicts between his personal and professional codes of ethics throughout the film. From breaking his love interest’s trust to go after the story to then arriving at the conclusion that he could give it all up to get on the plane with her, being physically impaled in the eye was a fairly dramatic way, fitting for Guy’s character, to have this self-actualization occur.
Of course, Sukarno failed to show leadership for his people throughout the film. But what raised the best questions in our ethical discussions were considering characters that were fairly likable on the surface, such as Billy Kwan, and looking at their behaviors through different lenses. We were surprised, and also intrigued, at the amount of debate it caused.
by Sara Steffan
My leadership lesson came recently (or my memory doesn’t go very far back!) when I was deciding where to go to college in Fall 2008/early Spring 2009.
My parents gave me the opportunity to attend any college I wanted, and they would help with my tuition up to $25,000 per year. I remember thinking at the time that this was one of the first chances I had ever had at making a substantive decision about my future, and the fact that it was coming with financial support what more than I even could have imagined.
So it quickly became one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me, but at the same time it completely overwhelmed me. I wanted a pre-professional program with a focus on writing and communication. Journalism seemed like a natural fit.
But where did I want to go? Location was an important factor that I did not anticipate having such influence on my decision. And, more importantly, cost – when did schooling become so expensive? My top choice at the time, Syracuse University, was $44,000 per year. My scholarship only knocked $4,000 off the price tag; even with my parents’ help, I would still be paying $15,000 a year with student loans.
When I got an offer letter from ASU that ended up covering almost all of my tuition, I had to think long and hard about how much location was important to me. Did I want to be close to my family in upstate New York? Or did I want to venture further and eventually, have almost complete financial freedom?
Leadership isn’t just about leading others. Great leaders also have to show personal responsibility and skillful decision-making about their own lives. When I decided to come to ASU, even though it was something I’d never considered until that letter arrived in the mail, I felt confident that my future was now in my hands and that I was able to successfully manage the responsibility my parents had given me. And being able to shoulder that weight was one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about myself thus far.
“A saint is a sinner that keeps on trying.”
Aung San Suu Kyi is the iconic leader of the democratic resistance movement in Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She took up the cause in 1988 after witnessing a massacre of students while in the country to take care of her mother. Suu Kyi sacrificed relationships with her family for the good of her country by choosing to spend 15 years under house arrest to draw attention to the human rights abuses in her country.
Suu Kyi’s persistence and innate qualities allowed her to servant leadership at a time of transition. Her belief in non-violent activism and willingness to personally sacrifice for the cause has made her an influential leader in her country and all over the world. Through meditation and introspection during times of trial she persevered until finally being released in 2010.
Suu Kyi’s commitment to Buddhism allowed her to reason through the captivity. She was able to overcome fear and not develop a sense of vengeance.
“The only real prison is fear. And the only real freedom is freedom from fear,” she said.
Her spirit of inclusion, patience and forgiveness allow her to be a unifying force for a divided country.
She was elected to Parliament in 2012 and met with President Obama this fall. The country has been cut off from Western investment and trade due to it’s long history of human rights abuses. As a member of Parliament, she can now travel freely internationally to share her story and spread awareness of her cause. Obama’s visit signals a new beginning where her role will continue to grow.
Many consider her to be a similar figure to Nelson Mandela for the modern age. Both figures fought for justice using non-violence and suffered isolation from family and friends to achieve peace. She is truly an ideal and an example for global leaders everywhere.
When most people think of a leader, they think of a politician, a social reformer or a war hero. But sports figures display many of the same leadership qualities found in more serious types of leader. While it’s true these superstars are simply playing a game, for many sports fans, the game of basketball is more than just a game, which helps explain why Michael Jordan was seen as a global icon during the 90′s.
Jordan was a leader in three main ways. As a player, Jordan was an unprecedented basketball player and talented athlete who racked up numerous individual accomplishments. As a champion, Jordan elevated the play of his teammates and made his team so incredible successful, winning six championships in such a short span (eight years, with Jordan playing baseball for one and a half of those eight). And as a global icon, Jordan captivated the world with incredible talent, competitiveness, hard work and charisma.
On an individual level, the player Michael Jordan was easily the best player on the Chicago Bulls of the 90′s. His numerous awards and accolades easily attest to that. In his time in the league, MJ won 5 MVP Awards, 2 Olympic gold medals, 10 scoring titles, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, 14 All-Star appearances, 2 Slam Dunk Contests and the Rookie of the Year Award. His points per game during the regular season (30.1) and during the playoffs (33.5) are still all-time highs for the NBA. On an individual level, it’s easy to see why such a dynamic scorer and incredible athlete made him a leader. His dunks and gamewinning shots made him a living highlight reel and the representation of the NBA.
On a team level, Jordan’s immense success also made him a living legend and a remarkable example of what a leader brings to his team. Jordan elevated his game when his team needed him most and became known for clutch performances at the end of close games. One example is “The Flu Game,” which is regarded as one of the greatest performances of all time in sports history. Waking up fit for a hospital bed, Jordan not only played in Game 5 of the 1998 NBA Finals, but he led his team to victory with 38 points and 11 assists. And in Game 6, he dropped 45 points, including the gamewinning shot that would be his last in a Bulls jersey. The picture, shown below, is immortalized as one of the best clutch shots in basketball history, an iconic last act of basketball’s greatest player. Jordan made his teammates better with time and brought six NBA titles to a Chicago Bulls franchise that had never won a single championship before. And in all six championships, Michael Jordan was voted the Finals MVP, which is a true testament to his status as the leader of the team.
On a global level, Jordan took the world by storm in the 90′s. As David Halberstam writes, “His only rival globally was Princess Diana.” Jordan was everywhere: advertisements, commercials, cereal boxes. As a representative of Nike, McDonalds, Wheaties and more, Jordan was an extremely profitable marketing tool. Jordan became worth millions, not only because of his (comparatively) cheap contract, but through all his endorsements. But it wasn’t only about money with Michael Jordan. His charm, charisma and easy-going, down-to-earth personality made him an easy sell and he was one of the most popular Americans on the planet. The more Jordan achieved, the more people expected of him. The more people expected of him, the more he excelled. And the more he excelled, the more people began to believe that “man could truly fly.” Jordan wasn’t just an inspiration for basketball fans; anyone who watched him in the 90′s saw the incredible product that talent, hard work and desire could achieve. Michael Jordan transcended sports like only Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali had done before him, which is just one more way he was a leader and pioneer in the world of sports and hard work in general.
Most people will see this as a sports fan’s gushing and roll their eyes at the thought of an overpaid athlete being anything more than a superficial leader, but this is not the case with Michael Jordan. Any basketball fan who watched Michael Jordan play in the 90′s will tell you that this man transcended sports and made basketball more popular worldwide. It’s sad that most people see Michael Jordan as a failed owner of an NBA team and an ass with little tolerance of the media now, because he wasn’t always this way. If anything, everyone demanding so much of him constantly made him a grumpier person than anything else. Plus, Jordan’s contributions to charities and those in need shouldn’t be disregarded. In fact, when Jordan made his second comeback that damaged his career statistics, he donated all of the money made from that basketball contract to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Regardless of his difficulties as an owner, Jordan should be remembered for singlehandedly globalizing basketball and for making children and adults alike believe in the impossible, which MJ delivered on a nightly basis. It’s hard to describe his relevance the the phenomenon that he was during the 90′s if you were too young to remember or care, but Jordan’s charisma as a basketball leader made him an undeniable leader that the NBA may never see the likes of again.
And for anyone who thinks LeBron may someday replace Jordan, go ahead and watch this for some perspective. The music’s a little dramatic, but you get the point.
The first thing that struck me in this article (and something that has struck me since I took my first journalism class freshman year) is how unfortunate it is that the industry didn’t adapt to the changing world quicker. What I mean by this is how journalists failed to charge for their content online from the very beginning. Had they done so, the Internet would be a much more profitable realm than it is today. Rather than relying on advertising and hit-or-miss paywalls, the general news content online would all be paid for by the public accessing that information. Those payments might lessen with the development of social media like Facebook and Twitter, but people would have been accustomed to paying for access to news content and the online news stories would take in much larger profits. But because so much of the Internet’s appeal early on was how nearly everything was so free, news assumed that position as well. By failing to recognize how prevalent the Internet would be just a few years down the road, particularly in the area of news consumption, our profession was not prepared for the Internet boom.
Second, I found the connection between the humanities and journalism to be interesting. The author is correct in writing that a return to in-depth stories could result in more profitability. People who enjoy in-depth stories usually enjoy them because they recognize the substantial amount of effort and research and reporting that goes into writing them and therefore, would not be as opposed to paying for more quality work. For example, in sports journalism, ESPN’s 30-for-30 productions rake in a large amount of viewers and even more money when they are released on DVD. The in-depth reporting of Sports Illustrated requires a subscription and online, ESPN.com visitors and site regulars pay for the best analysis with an Insider account they pay for. In other words, in-depth stories attract a specific audience willing to pay for that kind of content.
Finally, the most interesting thing I took from the article is also the most uplifting piece of information it had to offer: namely, journalism is not dead in the water by any means. Yes, the industry will have to struggle to find ways to stay profitable (particularly online), but there is always room for experimentation and innovation. The author mentions there is no set game plan, but if journalism can mingle with the humanities as they once did, the profits may soon follow.