President’s Column

Reporting still matters, and it always will

By Betsy Russell

Yes, this is a terrible time for our business. Newspapers are closing. Talented journalists are losing their jobs to layoffs, through no fault of their own, in all media.

What we do is threatened at a time when it perhaps matters the most – when people really need to know what’s going on, to understand how it affects their lives and livelihoods as our nation and state suffer through economic turmoil.
Reporting still matters, and it always will. All we can do is keep on keeping on, and continue to do our best work despite the pressures around us. It can be difficult to focus on the story when you don’t know if you’ll have a job the next day. But it beats the alternative. It’s the right choice. It’s what we do.

In this dismal time, we are approaching the time of year when we celebrate the best work in Idaho journalism, with our annual awards banquet and presentation of our Best of 2008 Excellence in Journalism awards. Don’t blow this off. We need this. Whether you’re winning an award or not, come join us at the banquet on May 2.

We’ll laugh at what’s going on, with the help of the always-hilarious Fool Squad from the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. We’ll partake in good food and drink and tempting desserts. We’ll enjoy each other’s company. We’ll raise money to work for open meetings and open records, cheer the winners, and applaud the good journalism that happens every day in Idaho.
We’re all winners, whether or not we take home plaques or certificates that night. We’re doing work that matters. None of us went into journalism for the money; we all knew it wasn’t a high-paying profession. We went into it to make a difference, and that’s what we’re doing – and even if times are very, very tough, that’s still something to celebrate.

The registration form for this year’s banquet is in this issue of the Communicator. Fill it out, send in your check, and let’s get together to celebrate what we all do right. We deserve it.

Betsy Russell is a Boise-based reporter for The Spokesman-Review, and is the president of the Idaho Press Club.