Missouri School of Journalism Sees Opportunities for a New Golden Age for Journalism’s Role in Society, Democracy

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Dean Announces a Far-Reaching Strategic Plan That Sets Direction in an Era of Challenges for Journalism

Washington, D.C. (March 9, 2017) — Confronting a maelstrom of changes in the environment for journalism, the Missouri School of Journalism today affirmed the important role journalism plays in a democracy and announced a sweeping strategic plan to maintain and build its leadership in journalism and to better prepare students for the challenges of a new era.

Dean David Kurpius made his remarks at the National Press Club as part of the 2017 Missouri-Hurley Symposium titled “Fact-Checking, Fake News and the Future of Political Reporting.” The panel – White House correspondents, Washington bureau chiefs, fact-checking experts, media critics and former White House officials – shared their strategies for covering the new administration. Major Garrett, a Missouri School of Journalism alumnus and CBS News‘ chief White House correspondent, spoke at the luncheon.

Fact-Checking, Fake News and the Future of Political Reporting: The Missouri-Hurley Symposium Will Be Held from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, March 9, at the National Press Club in Washington

Fact-Checking, Fake News and the Future of Political Reporting: The Missouri-Hurley Symposium at the National Press Club in Washington.

“The need to assert the underlying ethics and principles of journalism could not be more urgent,” the dean said in introducing the School’s comprehensive long-term plan.

“Our bold blueprint builds on the core values found in The Journalist’s Creed, equips young journalists to serve as watchdogs over the powerful and prepares them for legitimate reporting the day they graduate,” the dean said. “Their future is bright: Truth-seeking and honest and fair reporting have many opportunities for a new golden age.”

The plan elevates an already strong curriculum in critical thinking, writing and reporting embedded in the First Amendment, Kurpius said. Another major differentiator in the long-term plan is a more complete integration of the School’s research arm into the curriculum and the industry at large. Resources at the School include 21 professional programs and partnerships and the Reynolds Journalism Institute, dedicated to advancing the profession of journalism. RJI’s new trustingnews.org website focuses on building trust and credibility for news coverage.

The Journalist’s Creed, written by founding Dean Walter Williams, is displayed at the National Press Club, at the School of Journalism and around the world. Copies of it were made available to all symposium participants and can be downloaded at journalism.missouri.edu.

“We are committed to ensuring that future journalists and citizens benefit from the work of free and independent journalists within our democratic society,” Kurpius said.

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Full Transcript of Remarks by Dean David Kurpius

Good afternoon. On behalf of the Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute within the School, let me join my colleagues in welcoming you to the 2017 Missouri-Hurley Symposium. A thank you to Hurley Chair Barbara Cochran for organizing this important event and discussion.

Coming to the National Press Club is always an energizing experience. Discussions like the one we had this morning is one of those reasons. Let’s thank our speakers again for generously sharing their expertise, insights and opinions – and most of all for reminding us of the important role journalism plays in a democracy.

Being here today also affords me with the opportunity to underscore the point that the Missouri School of Journalism holds dear the entirety of the First Amendment as part of our core values. We strongly support a free and independent press as well as the freedom to assemble, worship, speak and redress grievances against a government body.

The need to assert the underlying ethics and principles of journalism could not be more urgent.

Every day, in our classrooms and six professional newsrooms serving Columbia, Missouri, and the world, the next generation of journalists gain street-level insights into how the First Amendment helps citizens fully engage in society. As a School, we work to uphold the highest standards of journalism found in The Journalist’s Creed, written by founding Dean Walter Williams. It has been displayed here at the National Press Club since 1958, and we’re proud of the interconnection between the world’s leading professional organization for journalists and the world’s journalism school.

Here’s the first line:

“I believe in the profession of journalism.”

The Creed continues: “I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.”

Things we take for granted – the core values of our profession – are now called into question. Every day we’re greeted with new challenges, new opportunities. History stands as a testament to the notion that a vigorous Fourth Estate is essential for a healthy democracy.

Today, I announce the School’s new strategic plan – a bold blueprint that builds on the core values found in The Journalist’s Creed, equips young journalists to serve as watchdogs over the powerful and prepares them for legitimate reporting the day they graduate. Their future is bright: Truth-seeking and honest and fair reporting have many opportunities for a new golden age.

Our strategic plan strengthens the time-honored Missouri Method, considered the gold standard for hands-on learning since 1908. It takes advantage of tremendous resources at the School, with 21 professional programs and partnerships, a robust research agenda and strong industry connections. The Reynolds Journalism Institute is dedicated to advancing the profession of journalism. Most relevant for today’s topic is RJI’s new trustingnews.org website, which focuses on building trust and credibility for news coverage.

We are challenging ourselves, and I invite you – all of you – to join us in renewing our commitment to the high standards, timeless principles and solid values found in The Journalist’s Creed. We have provided copies for you today on a table outside of this room. Please share it with colleagues, citizens and particularly budding young journalists. Post it by your desk, discuss it, share it with others. If you give yours away, you can download a copy of it from our website.

We are committed to ensuring that future journalists and citizens benefit from the work of free and independent journalists within our democratic society.

I leave you with one last statement from the Creed:

“I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.”

May we all continue our strong efforts to serve the people and strengthen our democracy.

Thank you.

About the Missouri School of Journalism

The Missouri School of Journalism, the world’s first, is the international leader in journalism education. Some of the best journalists in the world have learned their profession through the Missouri Method, which provides practical hands-on training in six professional news outlets – Columbia Missourian, KOMU-TV, KBIA-FM, Vox Magazine, Global Journalist, Missouri Business Alert, Missouri Digital News – and two strategic communication agencies, AdZou and Mojo Ad.

The School works with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute to help create a bright future for journalism. RJI, along with 21 institutes and centers headquartered at the School, provide numerous research, networking, collaboration opportunities and other resources. Students and faculty earned top awards and recognitions – more than 560 in the 2015-16 academic year – from international, national and other organizations.

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