20200
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2050
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2020
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7

Frank talk, and then action

“It starts in the newsroom, where we need to talk more often and more openly about the state of journalism and how we fit into it.”

I dream about making journalism better. About rejuvenating democracy. About responding to people’s needs with the research, reporting, and dialogue to help them better navigate their lives and work together to tackle big problems. To pursue these dreams in 2020, we’ll need to let go of our fears and get a little more comfortable with confrontation.

It starts in the newsroom, where we need to talk more often and more openly about the state of journalism and how we fit into it. The challenges are many, and we need to include everyone — journalists and non-journalists, news loyalists and news avoiders — as we explore our values and search for solutions.

Discussing the future of journalism and acknowledging others’ values will undoubtedly reveal differences and divisions. Our responsibility, then, will be to embrace them and find paths forward. There is no singular, superior way to do this as long as we put our audiences and communities first.

Meanwhile — and this is going to sound ridiculously obvious — we must learn new things and try new things. No, not just the project team over there. Not just that digital whiz. Everyone. I wish I didn’t have to say that in 2020, but the reality is that too many newsrooms are still failing to innovate in ways that will sustain journalism into the future. We all can — and should — get better.

So you start small and test things out within the boundaries of your organization. Or you seek out the journalists who are trying out stuff that excites you and find ways to contribute. Whatever the context, we must create a healthy environment for learning, reflection and growth.

Fail. Talk about it. Adjust. Communicate it. Succeed. Celebrate it. You’re on your way.

Elizabeth Dunbar is a reporter at MPR News in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I dream about making journalism better. About rejuvenating democracy. About responding to people’s needs with the research, reporting, and dialogue to help them better navigate their lives and work together to tackle big problems. To pursue these dreams in 2020, we’ll need to let go of our fears and get a little more comfortable with confrontation.

It starts in the newsroom, where we need to talk more often and more openly about the state of journalism and how we fit into it. The challenges are many, and we need to include everyone — journalists and non-journalists, news loyalists and news avoiders — as we explore our values and search for solutions.

Discussing the future of journalism and acknowledging others’ values will undoubtedly reveal differences and divisions. Our responsibility, then, will be to embrace them and find paths forward. There is no singular, superior way to do this as long as we put our audiences and communities first.

Meanwhile — and this is going to sound ridiculously obvious — we must learn new things and try new things. No, not just the project team over there. Not just that digital whiz. Everyone. I wish I didn’t have to say that in 2020, but the reality is that too many newsrooms are still failing to innovate in ways that will sustain journalism into the future. We all can — and should — get better.

So you start small and test things out within the boundaries of your organization. Or you seek out the journalists who are trying out stuff that excites you and find ways to contribute. Whatever the context, we must create a healthy environment for learning, reflection and growth.

Fail. Talk about it. Adjust. Communicate it. Succeed. Celebrate it. You’re on your way.

Elizabeth Dunbar is a reporter at MPR News in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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