I am happy to have had the opportunity to attend the Izzy awards yesterday. Naomi Klein and David Sirota are representations of the modern investigative journalism that many young journalists should aspire to produce.
David Sirota’s acceptance speech was very well crafted. What stood out to me was his discussion on the difference between media and journalism. He talked about how a career in media involves working for a news organization and going through the motions of being a mouthpiece for a certain ideology. It is a safe path. By contrast, however, a career in journalism a career in journalism involves the risky work of exposing things that the public should know. It is about critiquing those in power and guarding your credibility. He also discussed how guarding credibility is the most important task for an independent journalist. When a journalist is counting on his or her name being a brand, rather than the name of a news organization, accuracy is essential. The speech overall was effective in explaining what it means to be an independent journalist today.
Naomi Klein mainly focused on her book, This Changes Everything, and did a wonderful job connecting with the local, Ithaca audience. She discussed the importance of being thorough in her research, fact checking and taking the time necessary to publish something. Her hard work as an investigator has payed off in her book, which exposes the realities of climate change. She received applause from the audience multiple times during the speech and tapped into the climate activist spirit of Ithaca.
During the Q&A before the award ceremony, Sirota and Klein both discussed the importance of reporting on what is available to the public. It solidified the fact that the average person is not going to search for and interpret public documents, and it is the role of journalists to do this in service of the people. Independent journalists get to the root of journalism by exposing corruption and misconduct of people in power, as well as in societal patterns. These are the people who are going to make a change. Klein and Sirota were great examples of people doing this groundbreaking journalistic work.