by Kathie England

Truth and Trust

“Ranting is not journalism!”
Those were the words of Ann Curry, an American journalist for the past 30 years and the final speaker at TEDx Portland on April 21, 2018.
Journalism, described by Curry as a “noble calling,” is about truth and trust. The motive of journalism is the public good.
An informed citizen has the responsibility to seek truth.
Curry invited us to ask ourselves, as informed citizens, whether the stories we hear and read are real. She offered seven questions for us to ask ourselves in determining whether a story is real.

  • Are no other news organizations reporting the same thing?
  • Is this being reported by an organization you don’t know?
  • Does the article lack a publication date?
  • Is it billed as a “must read” in the headline?
  • Does the story confirm your opinion neatly?
  • Is it in all caps? Are there a lot of exclamation marks?
  • Does it make you angry?

I just started reading We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In the introduction to this book, Coates notes that when President Obama left office, “a majority of the opposition party did not believe he was a citizen.”
One of my favorite coaching questions is “What if…?”
What if those people who did not believe that President Obama is a citizen had asked themselves the questions Ann Curry posed?
What if we all took those small steps of asking ourselves Curry’s questions before we believe what we are reading and hearing is the truth?
“Ranting is not journalism!”