The Role of the Media in a Time of Crisis

When I became a journalist, I stumbled into the greatest job in the world. But now, its future is uncertain

Journalists with tape recorders and microphones flocking around a suited person. The photo is in black and white.

The Minifie Lecture is delivered annually by an established Canadian journalist. Launched in 1980 and hosted by the University of Regina school of journalism, the series is named after the late James M. Minifie, who was a foreign correspondent for the CBC. Past lecturers include Knowlton Nash, Pamela Wallin, June Callwood, Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson, Wendy Mesley, and Haroon Siddiqui.

This year’s Minifie Lecture was presented by Jana G. Pruden

I’ve always thought of the Minifie Lecture as a kind of “state of the union” about journalism in Canada. And there are so many issues to think about and discuss at the moment that the possibilities for this lecture seemed almost endless. As I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about, I went back and read the previous Minifie lectures to see what people had talked about before me. While each one is different, it was interesting to see common themes emerge again and again. Frankly, it’s not the happiest picture of journalism. This won’t be a surprise, but journalists don’t typically focus on the good news.

There are concerns about low pay in journalism, the gruelling hours, the lack of public trust in the media, and people’s low opinion—and even downright hostility—toward journalists in a world growing more complicated every day. There are questions about our accountability and our ethics, the perception of bias in media, concerns about media monopolies and job losses.

There is the struggle between the press and authority, the importance of pushing back against media manipulation and spin and those who try to repress us with threats and libel chill. The perennial problem of those “self-important, officious, rude, horrible public-relations people.”

There are fundamental questions about journalistic objectivity versus advocacy and about the role of journalism amidst widening conditions of poverty, isolation, racism, violence, and suffering.

There are concerns about diversity, that journalism should not be “filtered through one set of conditioned responses, those of white, middle class males.” There are discussions about the importance of public broadcasters and the independent press, the spectre of serious threats to the CBC. There are criticisms about the media concentrating too much on “death, pestilence, and destruction” because these things sell better and about the “pollution of journalism” with sensationalism, tabloid journalism, and the trivialization of news.

Some of the previous lecturers talked about the decline in the quality of news coverage they’d seen over the course of their careers. How journalists don’t even get out of the office and talk to people anymore and how too many instead practise press-release journalism and “news from a desk.”

There are concerns about shrinking budgets, cutbacks, the relentless news cycle, the competition our stories face for attention in the “empty blind alley of sickening distraction,” and the very disturbing notion that perhaps people have even stopped believing in the very existence of truth the way they once did.

We have heard about a president intentionally using the media to manipulate the public and concerns that people are spending so much time staring at an illuminated screen—on average seven hours a day—that it is replacing traditional social interactions and actually changing the very make-up of the human brain. That talk raised the spectre of dire consequences on our attention spans and worried that we were being exposed to so many ideas so quickly that we were actually losing our ability to concentrate on news. And, even more concerning, we were losing the attention span to care.

That was in 1992, in a lecture by Pamela Wallin. The president she was talking about was the first George Bush, and the threats she was talking about were from cable TV, pay-per-view, and the remote control, which allowed people to change the channel whenever they got bored or distracted and which she called “the stuff of nightmares” for journalists.

Imagine if our biggest nightmare was the remote control?

All of the big fundamental concerns and existential threats I’ve just mentioned were discussed in lectures in the 1980s and ’90s, in the years I’ve always been told were the great old days of journalism. When journalism was, as described in this very lecture series, “a big healthy business.”

But you may have noticed that they all sound very much like many of the pressing concerns we are facing right now. And yet these were the things journalists were thinking about and worrying about before Twitter and Facebook and social media, before Google and smartphones, before the internet was even available to most people, and in some cases, before journalists were using computers at all.

These were the concerns before most of the young journalists in this room were even born, and before I stumbled headlong into this business, in the summer of 1998.

Luckily, I had absolutely no idea about any of this. Signing on for a job with low pay, little stability, negligible public respect, and a long history of existential crises isn’t really a selling point. Then again, I’ve since learned that the reporter temperament doesn’t respond well to being told what to do. So maybe it wouldn’t have mattered at all.

I often wish that I had a very noble journalism backstory, that I became a reporter because of a deep concern for social justice or democratic oversight or a belief in the importance of the fourth estate. But, in reality, I didn’t really pay any attention to news at all until one afternoon when I was on a bus in Egypt wondering what to do with my life. I was staring out the window at the desert outside Cairo. I was listening to this CD that I’d bought at a market, and I was really into this song about a war correspondent. I was listening to it over and over, and then I had this epiphany: I would be a war correspondent. It was settled.

So, when I got back to Canada a couple of weeks later, I called up the Reuters head office and asked whomever answered the phone: “I want to be a reporter, but I don’t want to go to school. What should I do?” And that person said, “Well, see if you can talk your way into a job at a small paper and work your way up.”

Not long after that, I saw a classified ad that read, “Reporter/photographer required for the Interlake Spectator. Must have writing, photography and basic computer skills.”

I’d studied photography in art school, but outside of some bad teenage poetry and school assignments, I’d never written anything. And, though my first job had been delivering the Winnipeg Free Press, beyond the crossword puzzle, movie listings, and comics, I don’t think I’d ever read a newspaper. So I put together a resumé with an essay on cubism that I’d written in university and that I thought was pretty terrific, and I also wrote something about the hospital my mother was working at in Egypt at the time. I sent it all to Donna Delaurier, then managing editor of Interlake Publishing.

To this day, I don’t know why Donna granted me an interview. I showed up to her office in Selkirk, Manitoba, wearing a pinstripe suit, with my hair in a French roll, carrying a briefcase that had only my car keys in it. She was wearing cutoff jean shorts and her dogs were sleeping on the floor of her office.

As mystified as I am that she gave me an interview, it’s even more confounding to me that she then gave me a job. I’ve always assumed it was a combination of having a very small pool of people willing to relocate to Lundar, Manitoba, for a job that barely paid enough to live in Lundar, Manitoba, and also maybe some kind of social experiment to see what would happen if she sent this goofy city girl in a pinstripe suit off alone into the wilds of rural Manitoba. Journalists do have a very dark sense of humour.

But, for whatever reason, I got the job. I would be the Highway 6 reporter, covering a stretch of 225 kilometres or so, from St. Laurent to the Dauphin River First Nation, and a healthy swath of land on each side.

I would live and work out of a house in Lundar, a town of about 500 people. My only two editorial colleagues at the Spectator, another reporter and our editor, were based in Gimli, about an hour and a half away. Every Friday, we would all meet in the town of Stonewall, where we would put our papers together, literally cutting and pasting them with exacto knives and wax glue.

It all happened very fast. I got offered the job and I found a place to live and I moved. And suddenly, there I was, alone in the country, in my new little home office in Lundar, on my first day of work at the Interlake Spectator. And a press release came sliding out of the fax machine.

And it was only at that moment I really realized that I had gotten a job I was not in any way qualified for and that I had absolutely no idea what to do. So I drove down the street to the corner store/movie-rental depot/gas station/restaurant that everyone called Chicken, and I picked up a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Sun, and I started going through news stories.

And I noticed there would be a paragraph, then a quote, then a paragraph, then a quote, then a paragraph, then a quote. Writing a story actually turns out to be a bit more complicated than that, but at least it was a starting point. And from there, I became a reporter.

It didn’t take me long to realize what a strange and interesting job it was. The Interlake Spectator was an exceptionally well-read paper. When it was late arriving in town, there would be a lineup of people at the post office waiting for it. And, since it was a weekly, it usually sat around on kitchen tables and in trucks and tractor cabs and, let’s face it, probably bathrooms for a full week or longer, and even with the distractions of dial-up internet, satellite television, pay-per-view, and our old foe the remote control, people read it very thoroughly.

The first time I spelled someone’s name wrong, he showed up at my house at 6 a.m. to complain. That’s direct reader feedback. I soon learned that 6 a.m. is well into the day in farmer time, and I appreciated that he’d waited so long.

I realized some things then that have continued to amaze me ever since. When something happened in one of those communities along my highway, or if I heard something interesting, I could just call people up, and they would tell me about it so that I could tell other people. I realized that people would open their lives to me, would trust me, would share their stories and experiences and successes and struggles with me, and then I could be the person to put that down in words and share it with others.

I realized that, sometimes, people would call me and ask me for help. They would tell me what they were going through, and then I could call up the government or the police or whomever else and ask really tough questions, way tougher than I would ever ask if I was advocating for myself. And then I could write about it, and sometimes this would actually help.

I came to understand the power of stories shared between people. I learned that journalism meant something and that it mattered. Sometimes I saw my work clipped out and hanging on someone’s fridge. Sometimes people told me a story had made them laugh or cry or taught them something or showed them something they had never seen before. I always found these to be the greatest of compliments, and I still do.

It was my job to hear things, learn things, meet people, go places, figure things out, and tell stories. I had somehow, quite accidentally, stumbled into the greatest job in the world.

But, while I was falling in love with news and discovering what it meant to be a reporter, the business was already contracting around me. I always say I had the incredibly bad timing of delivering papers when they were heavy and then writing for them when they were light.

By the time I began moving up to bigger publications, the Prairie Post, the Medicine Hat News, the Regina Leader-Post, the Edmonton Journal, and now the Globe and Mail, I was always chasing these contractions in size, in staff, in budget, and frankly, in confidence and hope in our business. Somewhere in those years, I also realized I’d misheard the song lyric that made me want to be a reporter in the first place—the song that had inspired me was not about a war correspondent but actually about a poor correspondent—but by then it was far too late. I was hooked.

Yet, everywhere I went—these small but mighty newsrooms, surrounded by these amazing, dedicated, hard-working journalists—there was this backdrop of gloom: the threat and pain of people leaving, of cuts after cuts after cuts after cuts, of budgets that didn’t allow us to pursue stories we knew needed to be told, of news moving so quickly with so few reporters to cover it that the stories didn’t always get the time, attention, and care they deserved.

There were always people telling me how great journalism used to be, how many people we used to have, how many resources used to be at our disposal. Basically, how the golden age of journalism was over and the business was doomed and dying. We hear those messages a lot these days.

There’s a true story I like to tell about a young man interested in pursuing the newspaper business at a time when it was broadly believed that journalism was dead and that all the good journalism had already been done. The young man, Gene, meets an established reporter at a bar (of course), and Gene asks the reporter how he got into journalism. “I got into the business at a time when I was completely out of my head with a high fever and jaundice,” the reporter says. He says he’d rather see his own son buried penniless in an unmarked grave than in a newspaper job.

“Then why do you stay in the business?” Gene asks.

“Good God of Hosts,” the reporter is said to have exclaimed. “We are all chained to a hateful destiny.”

So Gene is kind of shaken up, and he tells that story to another reporter he knows. “Oh, they all talk that way,” his friend says. “You’ll hear their cries in every city room in America. How they hate the whole business, how they are going to get out of it and write a book, do a play, become a press agent. But they go on, year after year, crabbing, snarling, getting drunk, and loving every minute of it.”

Shortly after that conversation, Gene hears about an opening at a newspaper. He’s warned the pay will be very low. Gene says, “I’d be willing to start at nothing.”

That story dates back to 1912. About fifteen years before a young James M. Minifie—whom I gather everyone called Don—began his journalism career working at the New York Herald Tribune and a full 108 years before we gather here today to discuss the state of modern journalism.

Gene Fowler would, by the way, go on to become one of the most famous and highly paid journalists in the United States. And it turned out, I don’t mind telling you, that the best journalism had not yet been done. Not by a long shot.

When Gene Fowler started that newspaper job at six dollars a week—a pay rate not all that far below what I made at the Interlake Spectator—his editor told him: “You still have a chance to escape. You’ll be kicked around, hooted at, and I personally will try to break your heart every day of your life. If you can stand it for a year without cracking up, without hating every living creature on earth, without murdering your loved ones in their beds, you may then consider yourself as being on your way to becoming a newspaperman.”

I came across that story a few years back, in a bit of a glum moment. I don’t recall exactly what was going on in journalism at the time, but probably some round of cuts and layoffs or spike in public scorn, maybe both. And I found this anecdote oddly comforting. In fact, as I started to get more interested in the history of this business, I realized you don’t have to look through too many old newspapers to find sentiments and stories very much like this.

We have the 1800s, when newspapers were a feisty, dirty, often partisan business, resting on the work of the impoverished, often homeless and orphaned newspaper boys who distributed them. “Prosperity that rests on the misery of the poor,” as one article at the time described it. And, despite an explosion in the number of publications, we have regular stories about people pursuing the newspaper business being left, “after years of vain struggle, a prey to poverty and disappointment.” And we have decades and decades of a lot of rather preachy news briefs about how people who stopped getting the newspaper or didn’t pay their bills put the viability of their local publication in jeopardy.

And, all the while, the relationship between papers and the public could be a difficult one.

Here’s a thought from 1900: “There is no business in the world more disagreeable than running a newspaper. . . . Every editor realizes his unpopularity. Every man who goes into the newspaper business must do so with the understanding that he will be hated.”

And here’s one from 1902: “The newspaper is your friend in spite of your criticism. It helps to build up the community in which you live, and from which you obtain your support. When the day comes that newspapers are dead, you will find the people at the edge of the grave with no one to write their epitaph.”

These stories taught me a few very important things. One: journalists tend to be a cynical and sensitive and nostalgic kind of people, and we always have been. Two: we can be just a touch melodramatic. And three: for the most part, we have never been very well-liked, and this business has never been very profitable or felt very secure. The brief periods in which we were respected and making money were the anomaly, and frankly, we probably weren’t nearly as respected as we thought we were. But, for at least a minute there, we really did have lots of money.

So we have journalism in the early 1900s, unpopular, poorly paying, punishing work. With many papers pushing out multiple editions every day, and without any of the modern conveniences for research, the news cycle was relentless. Don’t forget, people were typing with typewriters and typesetting by hand. Then came radio, when for a period people thought no one would ever read the printed word again, and then came television, which threw both newspapers and radio into turmoil. And then, that great disruptor, the remote control. Oh, and after that, a little something called the World Wide Web.

It’s easy to gloss over these earlier disruptions and evolutions in media, but they were not small and they were not painless. In many cases, they were brutal. News outlets of all kinds closed, collapsed, merged, died. Each time, the business of how these platforms would work, how they would be funded and what kinds of stories would be told, was thrown into question and, sometimes, chaos. These disruptions were painful, even devastating.

I don’t mention all of this to brush aside our current situation as old news or to say that the challenges and threats we face in journalism today are not serious or even, in fact, dire. Because they are.

I have felt it throughout my career, once arriving to my first day of work while other staff filed out past me with their boxes, and on another notable day, drinking an entire bottle of champagne while live-tweeting the Edmonton Journal layoffs through tears, hearing one by one which of my colleagues had been let go and waiting a full day for the call to find out whether I still had a job myself. I have seen far too many wonderful journalists and photographers and editors head out the door, sometimes forced there, sometimes worn down by the fight, sometimes enticed by the stability and money of what we used to call “the dark side,” public relations. Every day, we see stories about cutbacks and outlets closing, whether they are legacy newspapers or television stations or once-promising online outlets. Every one is painful and honestly quite terrifying for those of us who care about journalism and believe in news.

In many ways, we have truly reached a crisis point. There are very powerful people mounting organized campaigns against journalism and journalists. In fact, some of the most powerful people are leading and encouraging those campaigns, deriding journalism as fake news and those who report it as enemies of the people.

The feelings of public distrust or even disdain we may have faced in the past have now been weaponized and amplified and are poisonous and explosive. There are armies of trolls and harassers. There are sophisticated misinformation campaigns, malicious traps, and coordinated efforts intended to intimidate individual reporters and news organizations and discredit journalism more broadly. And these campaigns and this rhetoric have had a very real effect on public perception of us and our work.

We have seen crowds of thousands shouting and booing at reporters at rallies. We have seen journalists threatened and assaulted. We have seen T-shirts that read: “Rope, Tree, Journalist. Some Assembly Required.” They were sold at Walmart.

There are very real threats of physical violence and harm. We have seen bombs sent to news outlets, physical attacks on reporters, the journalists of the Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, Maryland, covering a mass shooting in their own newsroom that left five of their colleagues dead.

And at the same time, the business models are collapsing beneath us.

Journalists are now exponentially outnumbered by public-relations people and those who seek to control the message for governments, corporations, and others with money, power, and authority. There are increasingly large swaths of the population without local news and without the oversight and accountability local news provides. There are internet giants profiting from our content while keeping the revenue for themselves. There are hedge funds, which do not care at all about journalism, sucking out the remaining lifeblood from newsrooms, concerned only about squeezing out what dollars they can in the short term, for their own profit, with no consideration for anything beyond.

So yeah, it’s serious. But I do think that, as we face this crisis and figure out what to do about it, it’s important to know that the kinds of existential threats and questions we face are not altogether new, and also that the good old days we hear about were not always quite as good as people recall.

I came across a story from a journalism conference in Edmonton in 1980, the year this lecture series was founded. In it, journalist Gerald McAuliffe raised an alarm that the print media was in deep trouble. He said the media’s credibility was at an all-time low, that papers were filled with mistakes and becoming little more than “inoffensive booster-laden shopping guides with puff pieces stuffed between the ads” and “sausage factories” filled with “bland, ill-informed, badly written, improperly edited material.”

A story about that talk ran in the Edmonton Journal on Saturday, August 16, 1980, on page 23 of a 146-page paper. That was the period when newsrooms were packed with people and, I’m told, money flowed between the desks like a river. But things were far from perfect. In fact, the 1980s saw a lot of newspaper closures, growing concern about media monopolies—which sparked the Royal Commission on Newspapers in 1981—and also serious problems with something called disco journalism, a derogatory term for flashy and superficial publications that included, get ready, colour photographs of boys and girls—I know, it’s terrible—as well as articles on discos and recipes for alcoholic drinks.

It sounds funny now, but it wasn’t at all at the time. Sensationalism and tabloid journalism were actually seen as a “cancer.” There were many news stories about how this change in focus signalled the demise of true journalism, turning once serious and important papers into a “bland mish-mash of self help, human interest, gossip,” and “counsel to the lovelorn and/or acne afflicted.” Those light stories took away space and resources from serious investigative news.

I also think about the voices that did not have a place in those busy newsrooms, the stories that did not get told. Women, people of colour, Indigenous people, gender diverse and nonbinary people, people with disabilities, and people whose fathers didn’t golf with the publisher or who didn’t share the publisher’s political views did not have a lot of seats in those newsrooms, if they had them at all. With the odd exception, most females in newsrooms were, for the bulk of journalism’s history, relegated to the women’s pages and prevented from covering many serious subjects. They usually made far less money than their male colleagues did and were subject to a variety of discriminations and indignities as they attempted to do their work.

That lack of representation also meant stories that mattered to women, about women’s health, about subjects like domestic violence and sexual abuse, were, for many years, not being reported at all. As Helen Hutchinson noted in her 1986 Minifie lecture, it was once thought that women could not read the news on TV or radio because the female voice carried no authority—a supposedly scientific fact based on the idea that a woman’s voice had “too much top and not enough bottom.”

Diversity in Canadian mainstream media remains, to this day, sorely lacking. We have come a long way in making journalism more reflective of the communities it purports to speak for, but we have much, much further to go.

When I speak to journalism classes, I often look out at the room and wonder how many of us would have found a place in that old media landscape, those glory days. Maybe one? Two? How many of our voices would have found their way onto the page or the broadcast or the airwaves in those days? How many of our stories would have been told in those thick and bulging newspapers? The internet and social media platforms, which have disrupted so much, have also changed that. And that is a good thing.

And it’s not the only thing that’s changing for the better. In a little device in my pocket, I have access to some of some of the best journalism that has ever been produced in human history, from bold and courageous investigation and extremely sophisticated data gathering to innovative presentation and the highest quality narrative writing and storytelling, stories told in ways we could not even have imagined just a few years ago.

This work is coming from outlets big and small, from legacy organizations and from people working alone. And it can be shared instantly, around the world, with the touch of a finger. We still talk about newspapers, but so little of what we do now actually exists on paper at all, and the possibilities are limitless. We all have access to stories and voices that would never have been heard before, and it’s hard to overstate what a fundamental and important development that truly is.

What we are gaining so easily disappears in the shadow of what we’ve lost, in the expanse of those empty desks and shuttered outlets. But these changes and accomplishments are not small. They are not insignificant. They are, in fact, revolutionary.

Right now, we are seeing more and more community-funded journalism models and startups. Sometimes I hear about a new outlet forming at almost the same moment I hear of another one shuttering. We are seeing staff of newspapers, like the Prince Albert Daily Herald, buy back control from corporate owners, and increasingly bold insurrections against the vampire hedge funds Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan has described as “the ruthless . . . corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that we need owners and backers who believe in and care about the principles of news and journalism and democracy, not just profit. And, more and more, journalists are banding together and fighting to make it so. We are seeing news organizations look at other ways of generating revenue and income, including nonprofit funding models. Last fall, the Salt Lake Tribune became the first legacy newspaper with nonprofit status. We are also seeing something that was almost unheard of not long ago: that people will actually pay for quality journalism.

These are vitally important developments and important ongoing conversations as we look at how journalism will be paid for in the future. And indeed, if we truly believe we are beholden to no one except our readers and the public good, maybe paying for journalism with advertising was always the wrong model. If our mandate is truly public service, and if we want the public to know that, perhaps journalism should never have been about making a profit at all.

In the darkness of this very real crisis, there is a chance for us to at least consider these questions. To face head-on some of the issues we’ve been dealing with for a very long time. To think not only about what kind of future there is for journalism but also about whether we will carry into it the same baggage of our past, the same concerns and criticisms and vulnerabilities we have been hearing about and wrestling with for our entire modern history, or whether it is instead time to do things differently. And that is why I believe that this current reckoning, though it can be very painful, is also an opportunity. We cannot be content with simply finding new ways to fund the old way of doing things. It is time to find ways to become better.

For those of us already working in journalism, I believe it’s imperative that we do what we can to share our knowledge and experience wherever it is wanted and valuable, particularly with those who may not have the benefit of learning and mentorship in a traditional newsroom. We have to support and make space for those coming into this business with us and after us. This is not a courtesy; it is our obligation.

More than ever before, we need to be open and transparent about what we do and how we do it. We are all, each of us, ambassadors for journalism, and we need to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of ethics, accuracy, integrity, and accountability.

There was, for a long time, a belief that we knew best, and a resistance to news outlets even acknowledging our mistakes and correcting our errors, because it was believed that admitting we could get anything wrong would undermine our credibility. Instead, it was this arrogance that hurt us and that hurts us still. We carry with us those failures. We cannot afford any of that anymore.

And, beyond those who work in this business, I think it is important for everyone who believes in and cares about journalism to support journalists and their work in whatever way possible. This means buying subscriptions and memberships to outlets and publications, paying for the media you enjoy and consume, donating to funds that support journalism and journalists. This means paying attention to where stories come from, sharing good, accountable journalism in your own circles, and pushing back against hateful and ill-informed rhetoric. I believe this is how we will all build the future of journalism: person by person, reporter by reporter, opportunity by opportunity, story by story.

In some ways, we have found our way back to where we started. To a place where people who are called to do this work will commit to it even when it is difficult, unpopular, uncertain, lonely, even dangerous. They will take on those problems that have come up over and over in the four decades of lectures that preceded this one and long before that.

But here’s the thing: there is another commonality in the previous Minifie lectures. And it is that, even with all its pain, there is, as Knowlton Nash said in the very first lecture, in 1981, an irrepressible joy in being a journalist. That being a reporter is, as Joe Schlesinger said in 1985, a glorious business. That it is truly the greatest privilege to be able to ask these questions and tell these stories. That it is the greatest responsibility to put down history. And that we must, all of us, recognize this and strive to get it right.

If we believe that we are a pillar of democracy, that we are the eyes and the voice of the people, and that we deserve the public trust, we will have to earn it over and over again. We cannot afford to get things wrong, to do things badly. We can take nothing for granted.

We can no longer just rely on people giving us their money, whether for subscriptions or advertising or death notices. We cannot assume that people understand what we do or why, or that people know or feel like we represent them. These, too, are things we have to earn.

And, in fact, it should always have been so. The threats and challenges journalism faces may be dire, but they are not new. And what gives me hope is the idea that we can face them better, more intentionally, and with a wider chorus of voices than ever before.

And so, as we draft this new future for journalism, we will need to be bold and adaptive. We will need to be fearless and creative, whether telling stories in ink spilled on pulped trees, on radio or television programs, on the web, in documentaries or podcasts—whether sending our stories through space from little computers we carry in our pockets or telling them in other ways we can’t yet even begin to imagine.

We will dedicate ourselves to this work because it matters. If we believe in journalism, we will have to fight for it. There is no other choice.

This is an edited version of the Minifie Lecture delivered by Jana G. Pruden at the University of Regina on March 3, 2020. It is reprinted here with permission.

Jana G. Pruden
Jana G. Pruden is a reporter and feature writer at the Globe and Mail.