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Mark Zusman, editor, Willamette Week
Introduction by G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice
Mark Zusman started off today’s lecture off with a homework assignment. He then went on to mention some names such as Larry Colton and Taylor Clark. These people “share a journalistic DNA” according to Zusman.
As if that wasn’t a refreshing start to a Must See Monday, he showed us the golden circle. It answers the questions what, how, and why. He says that those who look at themselves for the why “separates the women from the girls.”
Zusman goes on to explain that the “why” is different for all of us. It is what gives us passion… or “what salts our peanut.”
The beginning of this Must See Monday had the powerful effect of drawing me in. He spoke with such grace and passion, that it was contagious. I found myself trying to put the puzzle of his discussion together, only to be turned in a different direction—a positive direction.
The discussion was not even 30 minutes in when he said something that really stood out to me: “Journalism provided them the how and the what, but their passion provided them the why.”
Mark Zusman was a very great speaker. I liked how he included the 3 circles of questions; why, how and what. He said these are the things we have to ask ourselves when trying to find our calling. The most important being “Why” you do what you do. I also liked that he talked about the different ways our journalism can have both negative and positive consequences. It was almost awesome to here the values his company holds to. I think people forget about a lot of them or might be afraid to “rattle the cages” sometimes.
One of the alternatives to journalism that Zusman went over was authoring a book. Many of the journalists that he mentioned had their work for a newspaper published or expanded in book.
There are three questions – what, how, and why – that are used to explain the reason people do what they do with their life. He used his own life to as an example of how the roots for our future can be planted from a very young age and because of tragic events that we have experienced.
Zusman stated that there are three major steps to be successful in the changing field of journalism.
Zusman used the quote, “There can be no higher law in journalism that to tell the truth and to shame the devil,” as example of how journalists should not lose their steam to report the truth. In the process of reporting the truth do not fear ‘rattling the cages’ and making a change. Success is measure by the change that is produced.
In the concept of enter imaginatively into the action, I loved the example of Candidates Gone Wild. I wish something like this event was in Arizona because I think that it would really be a fun and successful way to get young people to vote.
Be a carpenter is the concept that some people forget that is important aspect of the journalism field — don’t just be out to tear down the wrong, be prepared to build up the good.
“Adventures in Alternative Journalism”, was presented by Mark Zusman, who is the editor of Willamette Week. He has worked with several great writers who have gone on to do amazing things. One woman wrote a book that turned in a movie and Meryl Streep played her. A man wrote a book on how Starbucks was being wrongly accused and wrongly despised. They key to success is that all people face the three questions: Why do we do that, how do we do what we do and what we do. What is your passion? Each person in journalism has a different why. Their passion provides them with the why. When Zusman was 10 years old the assassination of John F Kennedy occurred. Next Martin Luther King was killed, followed by Robert F. Kennedy all in a short span of time. Police opened fire on a group of Ken State protesters about the Vietnam War and 9 were injured and 13 were killed. This is when Zusman wanted to become a journalist because he read an article that lead to the reveal of the wrong doing of the police. He opened his own newspaper and had a mission statement that exemplifies the values of the company. They hope that the consequence of their journalism will lead to the bettering of their community. They do a great deal of investigative journalism. The rules they live by are: rattle cages, enter imaginatively into the action, and be a carpenter. If you can find your why and find passion in your career you will be proud to call yourself a journalist.
Adventures in Alternative Journalism
Mark Zusman is the editor for Willamette Week. Zusman discussed what is the key to innovation? The Golden Circle is a way to open the door to innovation. It requires people recognize and identity the questions: Why? How? What?
Some events that shaped Mark’s “why” was the assassination of John F. Kennedy, death of Martin Luther King, and the death of Robert F. Kennedy. He was shot in a hotel in Los Angeles. Another event was the protesting of the Vietnam War at a college in Ohio where 4 students were killed because police open fired. After the reports on these events he knew he wanted to be a journalist.
“Rattle the cages” was his first point. He talked about putting yourself out there by trying new things and taking risks. He stated that doing this would make yourself more attractive to employers because you are learning each time you do something new or out of your comfort zone.
Zusman then started talking about “entering imaginatively into the action.” He gave examples on stories where journalist got into the story and where able to find out the specific details to make their story the best.
“Be a Carpenter” was another point he made. Things are changing in journalism and its our job to shape the way. New information is being throwing out into the public minute after minute and it is our job to use it.
Tonight’s Must See Monday with Mark Zusman was very insightful in way of being successful in journalism. His knowledge in innovated journalism was vast and the examples that he talked about were inspiring. The theme of his speech was the importance to have a passion for your work. It’s a very easy thing to say but has proven to be harder to do. He stressed that having a passion for whatever you do separates the good people from the great people.
Zusman also told us the story of how he came about choosing the career path he did. He talked about the fact that his career path started to take shape when he was 10 and his moment of clarity happened when he was 16. It was an inspiring and eye opening story. He explained that the multiple assignations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F Kennedy took a toll not just on him but the nation as a whole. He highlighted that his moment of clarity came the day after the National Guard shooting at Kent State. He expressed that reading the newspaper the day after, which proved that there was no sniper that shot at the National Guard, was the reason that he wanted to be a journalists. He wanted to uncover the truths the way the reporter who wrote that article did.
I loved that Zusman presented the newspaper’s values and gave multiple examples of how the paper has achieved those goals. The work that he highlighted as well as the sort of fundraisers that they do, like Music Fest South West and Eat Mobile, makes me want to work at a paper like Willamette Weekly.
Mark Zusman, editor of the Willamtte week, spoke to students tonight about his journey in journalism. One of the most important points Zusman presented was a not a statement, but a question. What is the key to innovation, success, influence? According to Zusman, it is because they answered a simple question: why? Why are they journalists? The passion held by each journalist “provide[s] the why.” Zusman found his “why” in tragic American events. They inspired him to pursue journalism, and gave him a passion. The why is different for everyone though. This “moment of clarity” is something that will provide the why.
Zusman continued and spoke about the various things his paper has done. Each topic he discussed was innovative and interesting. The stories were a different kind of journalism. This alternative journalism was still informative though, and many of the stories were investigative as well. Zusman opened my eyes to a part of journalism I had never given thought to.
Editor, Willamette Week
“Adventures in Alternative Journalism”
This was my first must-see-Monday of the semester so I was interested in what Mark Zusman was going to say! He said he came from somewhere cold and was disappointed that it was cold here, and I thought that was funny because I didn’t come here for the cold either! He had a slideshow with different stuff on it such as a book cover, river and people. Pretty much everything he had to say about it had to do with sports. Some of it also had to do with people who covered business and other aspects of journalism. He also talked about a guy who did a thing about Starbucks because people were throwing bricks at it. He talked about a lot of people and what they did with journalism. I noticed that he also used some grammar tools such as metaphors. I thought his talk was kind of interesting but there wasn’t really anything that stuck out to stick with me. Except that he said we needed to find out what “shakes our booty.” And I thought that was an awesome way of looking at finding what our passion is.
Mark Zusman began this Must See Monday by discussing various journalists that all shared the narrative of a free and intelligent press. He then asked what the key was to this innovation and success of these journalists. The Golden Circle was the answer. This circle consists of three rings applying to three different questions: what, how, and why. My favorite thing that Zusman said about this concept is that journalism provides the how and what, but passion is what brings about the why, the true purpose of something. After giving background information, he talked about how the Golden Circle applied to his life and the newspaper article about a shooting that made him passionate about journalism. Once he reminisced on his decision to be a journalist, he discussed how his publisher brings these questions into action in alternative ways. The company creates interesting events displaying unusual talents of candidates running for local offices, while allowing people to register to vote at the same event. Overall, tonight’s lecture emphasized the importance of passion and how that is shown through the practice of journalism, especially if it is done in an unusual and innovative manner.
In the First Amendment Forum, Mark Zusman spoke to Walter Cronkite students and faculty about his Adventures in Alternative Journalism. As editor of Willamette Week, Zusman faces ethical situations frequently. He elaborated on a front page story that many staff members including himself collaborated on. The piece discussed trash but created something much more worthwhile. The story began by explaining that in March of 2002, the Portland police dug through fellow officer, Gina Hoesly’s, trash in an attempt to prove she was using drugs. Without a search warrant, the police continued their rummage to find a tampon that later proved her guilty. The public was left wondering if the police’s actions were even legal. Was a search warrant required? Or, since it was in the public view, was it free to explore? The Willamette Week staff wanted to do a little test to prove your garbage is a part of your private life. Late at night, they searched Portland’s District Attorney, Police Chief, and Mayor’s trash cans. The three did not think the weekly’s actions were appropriate and considered them a breach of privacy which was quite the opposite of what they felt doing it themselves. This story was an excellent example of how controversial actions should be questioned, and how ethics are all around us.
What I enjoyed most about Mark Zusman’s “Adventures in Alternative Journalism” was that the Willamette Week staff did engage in different tactics when getting a story. I found experimenting (like the bike theft multimedia post) was a great strategy in acquiring public reaction. In addition, the food and music festivals the Willamette Week were involved in helped them diversify their coverage. It helped them to be more involved. To want to go this extra length, Zusman said a journalist must know the “why”; why is he passionate about his job? The answer is the “what”: what “shakes your booty” or “salts your peanuts.” The intelligent press is important so to be intelligent, journalists must broaden their horizons — while keeping their passion alive.
Mark Zusman’s Must see Monday started off with a very familiar tone: journalsim is dying. But instead of going on to explain how everything in the field is switching to online, Zusman offered a unique perspective on the values that he believes will keep journalism alive. By sticking to his core beliefs, Zusman has managed to create a wonderful alternative weekly newspaper all while purchasing local newspapers and making them global. Zusman brought Cronkite a new perspective on journalsim that started with looking within oneself and figuring why journalism is the chosen career path. It is not common that a speaker at the Cronkite school provides students a direct answer to their future, but Zusman gave students a clear idea of what to look for in news and themselves.
I really enjoyed attending this event. It made me come to the realization that I shouldn’t just be going through the everyday motions of my occupation without determining “why” I’m doing it. The broad definition of being a journalist is to strictly inform the general public about the news, but there should be more to it than that. I need to find exactly what aspect of journalism it is that I’m passionate about and stick to that. If I have no interest in a subject that I’m supposed to be sharing with millions, it’s going to be apparent in my writing. Another aspect of Zusman’s speech that stood out to me was when he said to “enter imaginatively into action”. It is important to engage your readers and keep them interested in what you have to say. I have always been the one to have abstract ideas and altered perspectives of topics which I feel I could incorporate to my writing.
“What is the key idea to innovation?” Mark Zuman posed this question to the audience at Cronkite’s fifth Must See Monday of the semester, focused on alternative journalism.
Zusman’s approach to journalism may alternate with that of his peers, in that he embraces change and different methods to reporting. Some could argue he implements a form of immersive journalism that involves a sense of biting passion mixed with muckraking. Zusman’s implementation of visuals showing famous American assassinated figures and protests illustrated how young minds are influenced by media events, and many of those instances led him down a journalistic path of seeking answers and exposing truths. Some of those instances hold more amusement, such as the crafted bike theft example, whereas others demonstrate their power in shaping movements. Zusman referenced the Willamette Week story that uncovered hazards in Whitaker Middle School, leading to the institution’s closure. New journalism, even weekly journalism, has a place in this evolving industry.
Zusman adeptly took charge of the discussion and related with his audience well. Distributing free copies of the Willamette Week was a nice touch, in that it provided attendees with a (physical) idea of what type of journalism this paper produces. I will likely remember Zusman’s speech at Cronkite not for his engaging lecturing style or well-organized structure, but rather his lasting lessons. “Enter imaginatively into action.” That value, of diving right into a piece with fervor and creativity, connected with me. Likely that point translated to other audience members, too.
Mark Zusman started off the evening by giving us a homework assignment – the best kind, he said, because we wouldn’t need to turn it in. He gave us a list of recommended journalists to read, and said our only punishment would be missing out on some of life’s misadventures.
He shared with us the golden circle, a diagram of three circles nestled within each other with the words what, how, and why written inside one each. He stated this is the key to innovation, to why journalist do what they do. He told us of his defining why moment beginning when he was ten, and said for us, 9/11 probably happened around when we were ten. Actually, I was nine.
At first I rejected the 9/11 attack as my defining why moment, but on second though I began to wonder. My parents shut off the radio that day, and I was self-absorbed enough not to ask questions as to why. Which meant I was the child clueless to the gossiping of others at school. I only learned what had happened when the teacher turned on the TV.
“I hope this doesn’t become WWIII.” I remember saying as the situation sunk in.
A sensitive child, I disliked all the resulting talk of war. I didn’t see what right we had to fight a country for the actions of a few. Knowing what I do now about the sloppy journalism that helped fuel the “war on terror” I still wonder what right we had.
I do remember a Nickelodeon new special – back then, all I watched was Nickelodeon. The special centered on New York children – one that has stuck with me is a Muslim girl mentioning the sudden prejudice she faced after the attack.
Preventing sloppy journalism and comforting the afflicted. Is there any better reason to write?
Zusman also discussed three values central to journalism : rattle cages, enter imaginatively into action and engage the reader, and be a carpenter. I’ll take those to heart.
Mark Zusman brought up some very intriguing points during his presentation about alternative journalism that I found very fascinating. The point that had the biggest impact on me would be to enter imaginatively into the action. In journalism it seems like there’s certain guidelines and structures that must be followed, but by using these tools and becoming creative with journalism there’s a vast number of possibilities that can be explored. I enjoy thinking imaginatively and by trying to jump into the action with a unique spin on things would help me to find a greater passion for journalism.
Another point that was intriguing was to rattle cages. I like the idea that journalists can make a difference in the world and influence people to do good. Journalism is a powerful tool and when used appropriately can have a tremendous impact on people. Zusman helped me to realize a new way of viewing journalism and would recommend that people check out some of his papers, especially the Williamette Weekly.
Mark Zusman discussed “Adventures in Alternative Journalism.” I enjoyed his perspective as a professional in the pacific northwestern United States. He offered the audience a homework assignment to read books by several other journalists from the Portland area. I would- if I wasn’t taking JMC301 at the moment, but maybe I will someday. He offered a little bit of a history lesson, but an interesting one, drawing parallels from his generation to ours. He contrasted the impact that the assassination of JFK had on his life with the impact that September 11 attacks had on the lives of our generation. In his contrast, he made a comparison- one of a loss of innocence. His other comparison was from the shootings at Kent state to the civilian abuse from the Occupy movement. Comparisons echoed a message throughout his speech about change. He encouraged us as future journalists to make change in our society through journalism because it is our duty to do so.
Mark Zusman initialed the night jesting about Arizona’s weather. He mentioned he was assured a 70 degree temperature and not a cold climate- I anticipated an entertaining presentation. Mark Zusman introduced himself as editor of Willamette Week, a newspaper centered in Portland, Oregon. He also owns significant newspapers in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The digital journalism adapter thanked ASU for the pleasant invite.
Zusman continued his presentation and assigned a homework assignment to the spectators. He encouraged us to learn about journalism focuses he introduced. He talked about Larry Colton, a 1960’s professional baseball player that became an author throughout writing relevant books. One of Colton’s books was “Goat Brothers”- it was selected for a movie.
He demonstrated the golden circle, a circle focused on the words [what, how, and why] – an “interviewing style” for journalist. Zusman showed a picture of when he was a youngster and cited events that occurred at that time that caused grief among people. These tragic events influenced Zusman into a journalism profession. He showed a picture of Martin Luther King that was taken on April 4, 1968 an hour before Luther King was shot dead. He related his feelings during these events to our feelings throughout 9/11.
“Enter imaginatively into the action,” Zusman said. Zusman encouraged future journalist to act different and be creative throughout our career. A significant point was established toward the end- rattle cages. “Did laws pass?” Zusman mentioned journalism is all about values and being aware of specific events that are going to cause publicity impact. “Be a carpenter,” he said as a technique to act upon solutions.
A student of Cronkite asked Zusman how he competed against “The Village Voice.” “We don’t compete,” Zusman responded with a firm look toward his audience. He stated that instead they learn from each other. The only difference between newspapers is some are entertainers and others display hard news. He then joked about Portland describing it as the capital of karaoke and finished his presentation confirming that there are more quality students today than there was then.
Mark Zusman, editor of Willamette Week, gave a presentation that was aimed at encouraging his audience to expand their thinking on journalism. During his presentation he graciously bestowed to us eager students the key to innovation. In an age where content is uploaded to cloud space faster than we can blink and keeping up with a change can sometimes feel like running in quick sand; immediately, I was intrigued. Zusman referred to this key as the golden circle, an onion of questions layered with the whats and the hows. At the very core was the why. Success is built on the foundation of the why behind your actions. I already knew this, but hearing it said aloud was refreshing and helped put my own goals into perspective.
Zusman proceeded to explain his moment of clarity was when he heard about the shooting at Ohio University in 1970, “why” was no longer a question. From that point on he knew journalism and reporting the truth was important to him. His passion for journalism was undeniable from that point on. I find it inspiring that from such a young age his passion blossomed into a fulfilling career.
Zusmans’ three steps to honor his papers mission statement were to rattle cages, enter imaginatively into action, and to be a carpenter. Each one of these concepts can be applied to positively impact an individual’s career in journalism. I was impressed with the examples that Zusman gave for each step. His examples touched on law, sociology, and other interesting topics. He showed me how my knowledge of reporting and seeking truth has really only scratched the surface. Truth sometimes needs to be worked for, and things are not always as they seem. A career in journalism is not in my future; however, I can only hope that when I discover my passion that I will be able to devise steps similar to Zusmans that will pave my way to success in whatever it is I decide to do.
The must see monday was really interesting. It dealt with Mark Zusman the editor of Willamette Week talking about alternative journalism. Most of the presentation seemed to center around investigative journalism. Zusman said we all deal with these three questions: why, how, what. We all strive to answer all of these questions in journalism and even our own lives especially when disaster strikes like 9/11. He gave three points as to what alternative journalism is about. You have to rattle cages, enter imaginatively into the action, and be a “carpenter.” Zusman backed his presentation with his own short life story and said journalism is what caused him to be on the path he is today.
Mark Zusman was extremely insightful in “Adventures in Alternative Journalism.” I loved how he said that it is important to ask ourselves why we do what we do. I think so many people are in careers that they do not have a passion for. Their lack of passion for their career makes them inadequate workers. The journalism career is extremely competitive, so I think you have to be passionate and ambitious. Your “why” has to be because you love it. I love the idea that if you have enough passion and drive, your career dreams can be met. I also like how Zusman said it is important to know the consequences of your journalism pieces. You have to constantly ask yourself if what you write is making the world a better place or hurting people. I think it is amazing how his company has the “Give Guide” that focuses on nonprofit organizations who are very involved in the community. Zusman was very inspiring.
Mark Zusman, speaking at last night’s Must See Monday event, encouraged young journalism students and staff at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to seek the answer to a more critical question of “why” rather than the “how” or the “what” in their careers.
“Journalism provided the how and the what; their passions provided the why.” Said Zusman after discussing a drawing he calls the Golden Circle. He maintains that good journalists, whether they are starting their careers at alternative weeklies or work for the Washington Post, succeed because they expand beyond two basic questions to answer what’s at the center of their journalism—why cover the news?
And with that, he delved into the values of his newspaper, an alternative weekly based in Portland, Oregon. As editor of the Willamette Week, Zusman has three guidelines: rattle cages, enter imaginatively into the action, and be a carpenter.
“In a world of information overload, rattling cages will allow you to stand out.” He said. Flicking through slides of some of the more controversial and innovate stories featured in the Willamette Week, it is clear that the publication has rattled a few cages since Zusman bought the failing paper in 1983.
Techniques to engage the reader—for Zusman, the 18-to-34-year-old demographic—require that the newspaper “enters imaginatively into the action,” focusing on culture events in order to appeal to the members of a tight-knit community like Portland: music enthusiasts, culture consumers, and young voters, among others.
And while no young journalist necessarily aspires to end up at a community weekly, a publication like Willamette Weekly, or one in my hometown, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, has the ability to bring attention to the cages that should be rattled. “Local coverage provides a level of accountability that is global in many aspects,” said Zusman.
Zusman’s list of three values proposes that in this economy, creativity is key. And for many journalists, starting out at an alternative weekly was necessary to find the answer to their “why.”
When G. Pascal Zachary introduced Zusman he set high expectations when he said he believes Zusman is role model for young journalists. As Zusman spoke on Monday night, his passion for journalism and commitment to the craft of the field were very apparent to me and he did not disappoint.
First, I really liked his diagram that illustrated what every journalist wants to know. He drew the three questions: what, how, and why and organized them into three circles that resembled a bull’s-eye, “what” being on the outside and “why” being on the inside.
When Zusman talked about when he became interested in journalism, he said the murder of JFK had his attention even at age 10. He said that fear was exasperated when Martin Luther king was assassinated, and then two months later another Kennedy was killed. The bombshell that made him and many other Americans unsure of who the enemy was ended up being the shooting at Kent State University. Zusman said he believes his passion now is directly tied to the tragedy that happened at Kent state. He said it came from the inability to comprehend or see American troops shoot Americans, but he found a moment of clarity in a newspaper. At that point, he was drawn to journalism.
Zusman shared his ideas for keeping journalism engaging. First he said to “rattle the cages.” The quote he used to support this idea was, “there can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Next he said to “enter imaginatively into the action.” He told a great story about whether someone’s trash is private or not. His newspaper got involved in the action and made a point that everyone noticed. Lastly he said, “be a carpenter.” He said it is important to always be looking for news to engage young readers and viewers.
Overall, Zusman provided really good examples that got our attention as young students, and I really enjoyed listening to his ideas.
This week’s Must See Monday was Adventures in Alternative Journalism with
Mark Zusman, editor, Willamette Week and the introduction was by G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice.
Zusman started off by listing several journalists including Susan Arlene, Larry Colton and Katherine Dunn among others, telling us that we should read at least one of the books written by at least one of these authors. He told how they started out small and went on to become stand out journalists.
The three questions we should ask ourselves is; what do we do; how do we do what we do and finally why do we do what we do. The what and how are the basics, the foundation. The ‘why’ is what makes a person succeed, it is the passion.
He spoke on three events that influenced his decision to get into journalism, the first being the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy, then Martin Luther King, Jr., and finally Robert F. Kennedy. The defining moment for him though was the shootings at Kent State University. We both realized the audience, for the most part, had no knowledge of the significance of that event. In speaking with someone from the audience afterwards, she mentioned that a student told her it was just a school shooting. There is so much more to that incident.
He has found ways to take on the print media in his community and make a living at it in an economy that is seeing the decline of print. His motto is to ‘provide our audiences with an independent and irreverent understanding of how their world works’. His papers are global in ambition; yet remain local.
There are three things he claims that journalists should do, the first being to rattle cages. Then one must enter imaginativity into the action by making things interesting. His paper makes politics interesting to the younger generation by bringing local politicians together in unconventional ways to meet with the public. He then says to be a carpenter. He said any jackass can kick a barn down but it takes a carpenter to build one. You have to build your brand into the community and stand out by giving back. You spend time learning about your community, give back to them, and they will turn to you as the ‘go to’ for news and information.
He left us with the advice that if we can find our ‘why’, there will be no greater joy and it will be an honor to be called a journalist.
On a personal level, this night stood out more than most.
Mark Zusman in his Must See Monday speech “Adventures in Alternative Journalis”, presented the audience with examples of exceptional journalism he has encountered and also a set of values he and his publication, Wilamette Week abide by.
The values portion was by far my favorite part because he gave first hand examples from his own publication of how they rattle cages, enter imaginatively into the action, and be a carpenter.
The example of Whittaker Middle School being shut down after Wilamette’s reporting on how toxic the school was was both inspiring and showed how much affect journalism can have.
The video of the intern stealing his own bike in various part of the city also showcased how using your imagination in reporting is not only a must, but makes the job fun.
All of these values, Zusman said, are still the way in which you succeed in journalism today, even with all the advancements in technology. You just need to know your “why” and go for it.
After listening to Zusman, I left thinking about what my own “why” in journalism and life will be, and how I plan to get there.
Mark Zusman was introduced by his former colleague and ASU faculty member G. Pascal Zachary before his speech in “Adventures in Alternative Journalism.” He started off the night in an unusual way by giving the crowd of faculty and students a homework assignment. He recommended they read the works of writers like Larry Colton and Taylor Clark, among others. I thought it was an unconventional, yet eye-catching way to get the attention of the attendees.
Zusman’s three points of emphasis were to “rattle the cages”, “enter imaginatively into the action” and to “be a carpenter.” He used personal stories to share how his experiences have brought him to where he is and how journalism has changed his way of like. He ended his speech by tying all the points together in an imaginative way by telling the audience, “If you’ve rattle the cages, if you’ve entered imaginatively into the action and if you become a carpenter, you will find that even in this economy employers will be banging at your door.”
Being a new student to the Cronkite School I didn’t know what to expect when I attended my first Must See Monday this week.
The speaker was Mark Zusman and the topic was “Adventures in Alternative Journalism”. I was intrigued about the topic and figured I might as well attend.
Now, I am glad that I did.
Zusman shared different examples of articles that his papers published throughout the years, which were both fascinating and edgy. I liked that. I have always been drawn to originality and creativity. It was definitely not an inverted pyramid style you would find in JMC201. Hallelujah!
He also shared his journey through his life and the world of journalism. He gave his story of how he got to where he is currently. Out of everything he shared one thing stood out the most.
“Journalism provides the what and the how”, Zusman said, “Passion provides the why.”
For some reason these words spoke out more than anything else he said because it was not only advice for emerging journalists but also advice for life. Anything can give you “the what” and “the how”, no matter what field you are in, but the passion gives you the why.
“Those that focus on the why separates the women from the girls.”
Throughout my three years at Arizona State University I have struggled with finding my passion. I struggled as I pursued a degree in psychology because I could not identify and find pleasure in what I was learning. I felt as if I was forcing myself to enjoy the subject and the career path psychology provides. The second semester of my sophomore year I had what I called a mid-college crisis. I was halfway done with college with no idea where I was going
Then a close friend of mine suggested journalism with a focus on public relations at Cronkite. She has been in Cronkite for three years and told me to at least talk to an advisor. As soon as I came and talked to an advisor I was sold and instantly petitioned for a degree at Cronkite. I started immediately.
For the first time in my college career I actually enjoyed going to my classes despite how much work I actually had to put into it. I feel challenged and at the same time I am able to unleash my own passion. Cronkite has actually made me enjoy being in college again. I think that is what Zusman was trying to get at.
Zusman showed me there is not one correct path to take in life. He also reminded me that you have to be passionate about what you are doing.
Journalism is a structured field but it allows room for people to take the direction they want to take. I want to get into public relations and after hearing Zusman talk I have never been more determined to do it. His company changed things in Washington simply because a story was written on it. It was instantaneous and it was done in an unconventional manner.
You can change something in the world. You just have to choose how you want to change it and what exactly you care enough about changing.
Mark Zusman, Editor of Williamette Week in Portland, took journalism back to the basics Monday night in his Must See Monday presentation.
He urged writers to look deep within and determine why they do journalism. Zusman said the answer to that question is the key to successful journalism.
The turning point for him, Zusman said, was in May 1970, when four students were killed and nine injured after being fired upon by National Guard troops at a war protest at Kent State in Ohio.
The soldiers said they had shot the students in response to sniper fire from a nearby rooftop. But a reporter covering the event disputed the official report in a published article, where he said that he heard no sniper fire prior to the National Guard shooting.
Zusman said he was inspired by that reporter’s bold determination to report the truth.
Since then, Zusman has had a storied career as a reporter, editor, and now newspaper owner. He owns three weekly alternative newspapers, including Williamette Week, the Santa Fe Reporter, and Indy Week.
He thinks now is a great time to be buying newspapers, since the prices are so low.
Zusman’s presentation was a testament to quality journalism. He did an excellent job conveying some of the core values that journalists ought to esteem.
I was particularly impressed by his business success. If there is anyone clever enough to succeed in the newspaper industry in 2013, he must know a thing or two about the industry.
Mark Zusman, Editor of Willamette Week in Portland, shared an humorous story about his publication. The district attorney in Portland was looking through residential garbage as part of an investigation, and locally this became a privacy concern.
In response, Zusman authorized some of his reporters to search through the district attorney’s trash. The reporters found several items in the trash that revealed some embarrassing personal information about the official, and the findings were published in an issue of the Willamette Week.
This decision has some pretty serious ethical implications. The obvious ethical problem was the reporters’ blatant invasion of the attorney’s privacy and the subsequent publishing of those findings. However, what is more interesting is the breakdown in the process of ethical decision-making. Did an editor assign this story to the reporters? Was the editor acting alone, or did he or she consult with other editors first? Were these editors thinking critically about the ethical implications fo their actions? Did they only consider a utilitarian approach to ethics, or did they consider other ethics systems? Did the reporters consider the ethics of the story?
I think the worst consequence of running the story was the potential to influence the public’s perception of the media. The mental picture of reporters slogging through the trash to make a political point denigrates the profession. The Week should have considered how the move could have undermined the institution’s credibility.
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