Inspiring Quotes About Journalism I Like to Share With Journalists Just in Case It Helps

Riane Konc
Dec 6, 2019 · 5 min read
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Photo by Julius Drost, Unsplash

In the face of political unrest and upheaval, the role of the journalist is more difficult — and more important — than ever. No one knows that better than me, a non-journalist who has the Internet.

I have very strong opinions about the direction that journalism is taking, many of which I’m sure are supported by the curriculum at journalism school, which to be clear, I have never attended.

My goal is to support our journalists while still reminding them that it’s crucial for them to get back to doing journalism as I understand it.

That’s why I love to spur journalists on by sharing with them inspiring journalism quotes that seem to me like they could be real. The following are my my favorite inspiring quotes about journalism that I feel like I must have read somewhere.

“I have always said: if I had to choose between having a good doctor or a good journalist, I would choose a good journalist.”

Whoa! This quote is a journalist favorite, I assume. Probably the only person who would appreciate this quote more than a regular journalist would be someone who got their doctorate in journalism, because he knows that no matter what, he comes out on top.

“Journalism 101: the details aren’t in the stories. The stories are in the details.”

So simple, and yet, I bet journalists just go crazy for this one. And it really makes you think: if this is the 101st most dope saying about journalism, what are the first 100?!

“Journalism is 20% writing and 90% re-writing.”

If the author of this quote famously had to go back and edit it because he got the math wrong, I think that would make it extra powerful.

“If one man says it is raining, and another man says it is pouring, it is not your job to quote both. It is your job to determine whether the old man is snoring.”

This seems like something a beloved journalism school professor somewhere might have said at some point, so whenever I feel that journalists are not doing my definition of journalism, I like to share this quote with them, to kind of be like, “Okay, come on guys, let’s really buckle down and get back to doing my understanding of journalism here.” But I should add that, as is often the case, this advice is good for journalists and bad for meteorologists.

“One … two … three … four … yep, that’s it, that’s the fourth estate.”

It’s so important to know your history and this quote proves it!

“Quill in hand, I stand ready to do battle with mine enemy: lies.”

If an old-timey journalist once said this and it became a famous quote, you’d have to admire her bravery, but also, you’d be like, “Hey lady, why don’t you quit picking fights with people and go write another stupid article!”

“The moment you think your article is complete, double check. Then TRIPLE check. Still think you’re done? Wrong: quadruple check. And I don’t know the word for checking five times, so after a quadruple check, let’s say you’re good.”

If I were a journalist, it would be hard to get pumped up about proofreading, so I think this quote would give me a very necessary kick in the pants!

“Given the choice between a free press and a free lunch, I would choose a free press.”

This one might not seem like a big deal until you realize that at the moment he said this, the journalist who said it was turning down a container of Pizza Lunchables.

“J-School isn’t supposed to be easy. If it was, it’d be called Marketing School!”

This one is just a good light-hearted quote that I bet buddies in journalism school are always sharing with each other when they need a laugh. It’s a fun little play on something that I think might exist, which is maybe a kind of an ongoing friendly rivalry between journalism school and marketing school? And the greatest part is, at Marketing School, they have a quote like this about J-School! So it’s all in good fun.

“I would give up every Peabody in the world if it meant getting one more scoop.”

If a famous journalist had once said this, then I bet it would prove how committed journalists are to their profession. And even though I’m not a journalist, I really relate to it, because it also explains exactly how I feel about ice cream.

“‘Twixt what hast been and what ne’er may be, therein lyeth the truth.”

People just used to TALK like this, maybe! Just in their regular lives! They didn’t even realize how cool it was until one day, some guy was like, “Guys, we REALLY should be writing this stuff down.”

“Journalism is the last true defense against the greatest enemies of our time.”

If I were a journalist and I read this, on the one hand, I’d be thinking, “Hell yeah!” but on the other hand, I’d be thinking, “But wait, are the guys with guns not even going to help out a LITTLE?”

“The truth is like a monkey juggling three overripe pumpkins in July: easy to see, but hard to understand.”

I can’t imagine how many journalism meetings this one probably comes up in! You gotta admit: even if you don’t know what this quote is saying, it definitely has the cadence of wisdom.

“Journalists aren’t born. They’re made.”

This quote probably really warms the hearts of two types of journalists. The first is the type of journalist who maybe isn’t super naturally talented, but just works really hard day in and day out and gets the job done. And then the second type is zombie journalists.

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Riane Konc

Written by

Jokes in the New Yorker, the NYT, McSweeney’s, and more. Order my satirical holiday book, BUILD YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS MOVIE ROMANCE, today. More:



Medium humor. Large laughs.

Riane Konc

Written by

Jokes in the New Yorker, the NYT, McSweeney’s, and more. Order my satirical holiday book, BUILD YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS MOVIE ROMANCE, today. More:



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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