1.My first and foremost guiding principle is to the people.
I never want to forget when I fell in love with journalism. Because this experience has kept my heart passionate to its core to the principle of why journalism is so crucial to a democracy. As a high school student in my news writing class, I realized the very importance providing a society’s people with important information to make decisions. Furthermore, and mostly stemming from my lifelong call to philanthropy, I found the impact that holding the ability to disclose with the people an injustice to be beautiful. The idea that I could see a person struggling with an injustice, or a disease or being suppressed and I could help that person on my own, or I could take their story and tell it to others. If others knew this story, thousands of people could help that person or others like them, thousands struggling with the same kind of things could come forward and reach out to that first person whose story I told. I found that beautiful, and this was my call to serve the people.
2. Always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
There isn’t much more to say under the grounds of truth. Making up a story isn’t journalism. Making up a quote isn’t journalism. Lying to the people who are reading your work as fact is disrespecting the power of the pen they have trusted you with. Withholding important elements to a story is also a concept of impartial truth, and if it changes the story on its face, then the story in a way become untruthful. The truth also includes looking at other sides a story and really finding what creates the entire truth.
3. Always disclose special and conflicts of interest.
This goes along with telling the truth. It is important to disclose any financial and special compensation I may receive from sources or media outlets. If I’m writing a story about someone who may be seen as a conflict of interest, I need to disclose this somewhere in the story where it can be read. For the most part, however, try to avoid conflicts of interest. If this is done, there won’t be people questioning the objectivity or motives of your work on this basis.
4. Be a person.
When it comes down to it, I will make a mistake here and there. I have found in life that coming forward and being a person, apologizing for and acknowledging a mistake will always be the best way to handle a situation. Also under being a person is that it is very important to be human with sources. It’s okay to get to know a person and their struggles and it’s okay if they share things with me that they don’t want me to write about. When it comes down to it, journalism and interviewing is about relationships and trust. Be a person and be humble.