Conversationalist 1: Linda Jue
Conversationalist 2: Tracy Ward Durkin
Linda is the Director/Executive Editor of the G.W. Williams Center for Indy Journalism which sponsors national reporting intitiatives designed to re-engage journalists, particularly journalists of color, women, and youth, in preserving journalism’s mission as the Fourth Estate in the changing media environment. Linda has leveraged her extensive background in media, from being an investigative reporter and former editor at San Francisco Focus magazine to her work as a founding staff member and associate director of the Independent Press Association, where she developed models to enable independent,mission-driven publications to compete in the marketplace, to focus on creating model reporting projects for doing great journalism. While others have focused on how to monetize new media, Linda concerns herself with how we can ensure that we achieve excellence in journalism, which not only means ensuring reporting the stories that are highly localized and well investigated, are written by and/or about people of diverse backgrounds, and provide a living wage for the reporters. She is interested in creating new models, but has also found models that are already working, and is interested in what role those models could play in the next evolution of media. Linda is passionate about her mission, “I’m one of the many journos who were inspired by Watergate, who believed we could change the world through journalism. The time is ripe now for journos to regain that sense of mission. I see this periosd as an opportunity to create new, out-of-the box forms of journalism taht will reinvogorate a profession that essentially has been dying on the vine over the past 25+ years.” Linda recognizes the importance of not having media become so segmented that publications “preach to the choir”–an ongoing risk, particularly as media moves online. In addition, Linda is working on a new project that will be concerned with media itself, looking at how it is covered and raising consciousness amongst the public on what the changes in media, whether it be skyrocketing paper costs or the closure of newspapers, mean to them.
Although Linda and I deviated from the proposed set of questions right away, our conversation was fascinating. I believe that in many ways, Linda and I share a similar passion for journalism, but our paths and approaches a vastly different. Linda, being a journalist herself, is highly sensitized to the challenges of producing great journalism, whether it be for commercial or resource reasons. At the same time, Linda recognizes the power of media and is committed to leveraging that power to protect our democracy. As a non-journalist, publisher, who is also committed to the Fourth Estate, it was great to meet someone who is concerning themselves with finding new models that can ensure excellence in media. Linda seems like a person who I could collaborate with on new innovations and I find that very exciting.