Journalists Have Superpowers and Communities are the Source

Josh Stearns
Mar 11, 2015 · 2 min read

In her post on Curious Nation, Jennifer Brandel writes, “Journalists have a superpower that’s all too easy to forget when you’ve been in the industry a while: we get to ask questions of anyone and everyone and get answers without any further justification than ‘I’m a reporter.’”

That’s true, but I think it is important to remember where the source of that power comes from: the public.

People answer our questions, give us access to places other people can’t go, and more because we are supposed to be working in the public interest.

Historically this has meant working on behalf of the public, but today we are even stronger when we work with the public. That’s why I love that Brandel ends by arguing, “The awesomeness of this privilege cannot be overstated, and I believe, it deserves to be shared” with our communities. Done right, that feedback loop can help build stronger and more sustainable journalism.

(I’ve written before about Brandel and her Curious journalism as a prime example of how we can build journalism with our communities.)


Superhero crossing photo by Brett Jordan, used via creative commons

Josh Stearns

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Director, Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund. Journalism and democracy of, by and for the people. Formerly: @grdodge @freepress