Joyce Terhaar

Listen to the voices of young journalists

People concerned about the future of news need only talk with young and emerging journalists to find reassurance.

Interns working at The Sacramento Bee this summer possess passion for the business, optimism about its future and determination to ensure journalism values stick around even as the way we communicate news changes.

Talk with them and you hear things like this:

From Brenna Lyles of UC Davis: “The key values of journalism – patient persistence, civic duty, accuracy, accountability, to name a few – continually draw me to the profession. … I believe these values will hold strong, no matter where I find myself as a reporter.”

From Stela Khury of Columbia University: “I gave up a law degree in my home country to be a journalist. Journalism allows me to be inquisitive, daring and progressive. … We are all working together to help redefine the ways society exchanges information.”

From Ashiah Scharaga of California State University, Chico: “I’m drawn into the profession because journalists are constantly seeking knowledge, seeking truth, packaging it together in a concise, creative way to inform people about what’s going on in their communities and in the world.”

From Jeanne Kuang of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism: “I believe there will always be a demand for news, whether or not the format stays the same. So I’m willing to work with new methods and in new environments as long as the core principles remain.”

You’ve seen the work of these four young women in recent weeks, along with nine other interns from private universities including Stanford, Harvard and Yale, and public universities including University of California and California State University campuses.

I gave up a law degree in my home country to be a journalist. We are all working together to help redefine the ways society exchanges information.

Stela Khury, Columbia University

They are digital natives whose news consumption habits are not so different from older millennials. They use technology to personalize their news and rely upon a variety of sources. Most of them regularly use social media to find news as well.

They understand the importance of news literacy and say they are more savvy than their peers about vetting the source of news before trusting it.

“I will always be sure to find the articles that are written by people who are actually in contact with sources,” said Andrew Holzman, from the University of Chicago.

Daniella Abinum of Florida State University said, “I see my friends consuming their news through theSkimm, and the one time I decided to try it out, the information was not only insufficient but also overwhelmingly inaccurate.”

Each year, I ask our interns how they get their news and whether their routine differs from that of their friends. Not one mentioned television as a source of news this year. Six, including Benjamin Egel of California Polytechnic State University, said they grew up with printed newspapers or magazines and sometimes still read in print.

“I may be old-fashioned, but I kind of like sitting down with a newspaper or magazine,” Egel said. “It keeps my attention on one thing at a time.” He also skips around online to check out news.

Jennifer Crane of UCLA uses news apps daily. Elliott Lapin of Stanford skims CNN and Politico but relies on breaking-news tips from Facebook and Twitter. “If something important happens, it will generally be posted within minutes,” Lapin said. “Then, if I want to learn more about that topic, I will look on a newspaper’s website.”

Madeline Lear, our multimedia intern from Harvard, frequents The New York Times’ video channels as well as its digital front page. And our science intern, Katie Strong of Emory University, typically relies upon academic blogs as well as NPR and Twitter.

No matter their interests, these are journalists who are tied to their phones or their computers. In that regard, they are like many of you. More people in the U.S. get news online now than from any other source, according to a recent study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

Technology has changed the landscape of how news is spread and I would argue that it’s for the better.

Jose Olivar, California State University, Chico

And they are eager to be part of a generation that will be redefining news and the delivery of news.

“Technology has changed the landscape of how news is spread, and I would argue that it’s for the better,” said Jose Olivar from California State University, Chico. “People such as my friends who wouldn’t seek out news otherwise consume information” because of technology and social media.

Journalism plays a crucial role in our society, Abinum said. “So many social injustices aren’t uncovered until a journalist pursues it. The power of media is so underrated.”

Joyce Terhaar: 916-321-1004, @jterhaar

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