President’s Column: Signs of life in the news industry

By Betsy Russell

Check out the “Media Moves” section of this newsletter – there are a lot! Lots of Idaho journalists are moving around as our industry finally once again begins to show some signs of life, after the huge financial gut-punch most or all of our employers took due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you’ll see in Orion Donovan-Smith’s interesting article in this issue, reprinted from The Spokesman-Review, the news industry has been suffering big-time for a while. That we’re all still here, pushing hard to keep people informed, is a credit to all of our persistence (it’s what reporters are known for, right?), and a whole lot of perseverance. Also, our idealism. We all know why we do what we do; the role of the free press in our nation is as critical now as it’s ever been.

So it was great to finally be able to have an in-person gala awards banquet this spring, which saw strong attendance and a big array of Idaho journalists honored for their excellent work in a challenging year. Full contest results are at Congrats to all the winners, and to all Idaho journalists for all the good work you do!

The banquet also gave us a chance to celebrate our scholarship winners, both for our longstanding Don Watkins Memorial Scholarship for an Idaho student, which went to Andrea Teres-Martinez of Boise State, and Don Watkins Mid-Career Scholarship for professional development for a mid-career journalist, which went to Kelcie Moseley-Morris of the Idaho Capital Sun; and our new Voces Internship of Idaho, which helps young Latino Idahoans get professional paid experience to kickstart their journalism careers. The first two interns this summer are University of Idaho students Mia Maldonado and Hugo Luna.

That same weekend, we saw excellent turnout for our third Journalists’ Institute on Covering the Courts, which we held in cooperation with Attorneys for Civic Education and the University of Idaho College of Law. Most of the attendees hadn’t been to previous versions of the institute; it was top-notch (see article in this edition of the Communicator).

Thanks to all of you for all you do!

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief for the Idaho Press, and is the president of the Idaho Press Club.