Every journalist and journalism educator in America should take Dana Milbank’s lead: tell your personal story or the story of a journo you know. Responding to President Trump’s claim that journalists are the enemy of the American people, Milbank simply told the story of the people in his Washington Post newsroom. They each got short biographies that highlighted just how American they are.
The anecdotes are both proof against 45’s claim and a non-confrontational way to get the public to see journalists in a different light. Studies show that Americans’ trust of journalism is at an all-time low (at least since records have been kept), so God knows we need to have people see us in a different light. Milbank’s reaction to an offensive and incorrect statement was perfect because “everybody in the newsroom–everybody in America–has an American story.”
So I’m Stephen Thurston, a community college journalism professor and part-time journalist. My focus is in community journalism, mainly: local stuff. I’ve run a couple small news organizations of my own creation, and one of the websites I ran had an unofficial tagline: “We tell stories where the policy meets the pavement.” I love writing stories about wonky things. I went to college and worked my way through graduate school though neither of my parents went. My mom was raised by a single mother and a stay-at-home, single grandmother. My mom stayed at home until I, the youngest of three, entered high school. Then, she sold Mary Kay cosmetics. My father managed to become a manufacturing engineer–despite no college–through an apprenticeship program at General Electric. He stayed there 40-odd years and, through his work, has two patents to his name. My parents were the ones who said, over and over, with education, you can do anything, and no one can take your education away.