I'm fortunate to be able to spend the week as a participant in the Yale Publishing Course, and am seizing the opportunity to send out a daily blog. Actually, based on just the first evening of the course, it looks as if a more-than-daily blog is going to be required! Richard Stolley, Senior Editorial Advisor of Time Inc., kicked it off with the keynote last night, speaking about the Power of Truth--a passion of his. If there is an informing passion amongst our journalists, writers, and editors we as an audience are better served by truth than speed, or glibness, or anything else that might also be necessary in journalism. With so many different imperatives and the temporary triumphs of non-truths, Stolley's proclamation that "a journalist's truth is our Holy Grail" is an important reminder of what is real.
It's also a reminder of the power and importance of journalism. There is only one truth, not many, Stolley told the group, but it comes in layers, it is sometimes wrapped in rhetoric, and the journalist may have to excavate to find it.
Also, Stolley said, truth is not free. The price is high, and it comprises part interior moral compass, part training, and part the willingness of the employer to pay for the content.
Which gives rise to questions about the role of us bloggers and the democratic nature of internet content. How is truth safeguarded when anyone with a keypad can upload information, and will the discriminating power of the audience be enough? Where will the content of value come from when content is no longer valued financially, or will the model shift to paid online as well as in print? The issues raised and the challenge to our group is going to give us plenty to engage for the entire week.
Linda Ruth is a founding member of Exceptional Women in Publishing (www.ewip.org
). She is blogging from the Yale Publishing Course.