We Can Still Believe in Journalism

I believe in the profession of journalism. 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.

Walter Williams, The Journalist’s Creed, 1914

I believed in journalism back in the 1980s, when I was a student at the University of Missouri and taking classes in Walter Williams Hall. The Journalist’s Creed was posted in the classrooms, etched on every student’s brain, burned so deep into our memories that I can still recite most of the 300-words on command.

I remain a believer. Journalism’s best days are ahead — not because of any renewed trust in today’s mainstream media, but because of my trust in tomorrow’s journalists and new media enterprises, which are being built, once again, by the public.

The public has always been a key part of the journalistic process – after all, reporters are only as good as their sources. The real magic, however, is when citizens and journalists work together. When they put aside petty debates about “who is a journalist” and focus instead on “what is journalism?”

Introducing TruthDAO

Journalism is a public trust, but trust must go both ways. This is the purpose behind TruthDAO — a nonpartisan, bias-free, professional news organization built with community support and interaction through a “DAO” (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) structure (full disclosure, I’m a TruthDAO co-founder.)

TruthDAO is the first Web 3.0 news organization. It’s the embodiment of past promises to restore faith and trust in our Fourth Estate. TruthDAO will publish original journalism produced by seasoned professionals, while engaging community members to contribute story ideas, provide perspectives, join in debate, and help push for a return to quality reporting.

Saving journalism — and giving the public some ownership and say in the process — is critical not just for the future of news but for Democracy itself. According to a global survey from the Reuters Institute, US Media is the least trusted journalistic body in the world. This can’t continue.

In 2010, the Society of Professional Journalists said that to move journalism forward, we must:

“Engage journalists and the public in a robust dialogue about the purpose, value and standards of journalism…build public understanding of and trust in journalism…and educate citizens so they can practice journalism ethically.”

There is still a long way to go to rebuild the trust that was lost over the past several decades. TruthDAO, and other citizen journalism efforts like it, are the best path forward to bring real journalism back.

Walter Williams believed in “a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.” It’s time to put the “citizen” back into “journalist,” and believe once more.

Follow TruthDAO on Twitter or join the TruthDAO Discord community.

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