Monday, June 8, 2009

Class of '09: Welcome to a Dying Industry

Barbara Ehrenreich, bestselling author of "This Land is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation" and "Nickled and Dimed," delivered this year's commencement address to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

An excerpt, as reprinted in the San Franciso Chronicle:
(Journalists) are not part of an elite. We are part of the working class, which is exactly how journalists have seen themselves through most of American history - as working stiffs. We can be underpaid, we can be jerked around, we can be laid off arbitrarily - just like any autoworker or mechanic or hotel housekeeper or flight attendant.

But there is this difference: A laid-off autoworker doesn't go into his or her garage and assemble cars by hand. But we - journalists - we can't stop doing what we do.

As long as there is a story to be told, an injustice to be exposed, a mystery to be solved, we will find a way to do it. A recession won't stop us. A dying industry won't stop us. Even poverty won't stop us because we are all on a mission here. That's the meaning of your journalism degree. Do not consider it a certificate promising some sort of entitlement. Consider it a license to fight.

No comments: