Honorific and not so much

Recipients of the 2010 Missouri Honor Medals were at MU today to hold court for all the aspiring world changers here in Columbia.

Sandy Rowe, current Knight Fellow at Harvard University

“There is no doubt of the absolute necessity of professional journalism.”

But she sees collaboration as our key to survival. Editors need to build partnerships with professional experts (retirees) and university j-schools to “increase the investigative capacity” of a community.

Yet she does not deny that major changes are taking place before us.  Of the past industry shifting she has lived and worked through?

“Collectively, they don’t come remotely close to this cultural and media revolution.”

Still, she sees that professionals need to work with a more focused attitude.

“You cannot have great accountability journalism that is derivative.”  That is, “kick ass news” requires original reporting of a complex story that is high-impact.  “Impact is not hits (to a website), it’s getting action.”

Above all, her positive attitude toward the future and toward our generation was delightfully refreshing.

“You are the ones who are the hope.  You have the power.”

I was impressed with Rowe’s enthusiasm and insightful commentary. Much less impressive was the main speaker for the day.

Cathie Black, Chairman of Hearst Magazines

While Rowe’s belief in our generation was evident and explicit, Black’s speech came off as a list of Hearst statistics sandwiched in the middle of a graduation keynote address.

She has plenty of experience, and I wanted to hear about her trials and triumphs.  Instead, I heard about the new Popular Mechanics iPad app and the outstanding circulation of Food Network magazine.  Wooo.

• “I don’t think you have to be a jerk to be a creator, but to create something from scratch, you must be 100 percent driven.”

• “There are very few stupid mistakes, only teachable moments.”

• “Be able to tell compelling stories in any medium.”

• “There is no such thing as a valueless experience.”

We only missed Carpe diem and the mortar board throw.

Her one redeeming point was the emphasis on a balanced life.

“Happiness is way more important to success than success is to happiness.”

Even then, I was significantly underwhelmed.  Her speech seemed artificial, forced.

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One Response to Honorific and not so much

  1. Pingback: UPS in the post-scarcity economy | It's the soup…

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