As a tumultuous election year approaches and technological advancements impact traditional reporting methods and values, those of us who work in media and communications often speculate what the future holds for our professions. Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News and Dateline, touched on these points as he accepted the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism at the 36th Annual Cronkite Award Luncheon hosted by the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Known for his calming presence on air and a steadfast commitment to fairness and unbiased reporting, Holt is a welcome mainstay in American households each night. With an impressive career that spans nearly 40 years and has taken him across the world, Holt shared his thoughts on the state of journalism and how he envisions the industry evolving. Here are our key takeaways from his speech:
- Journalists are an essential part of our democracy – No matter which side of the political aisle you are drawn to, a key role of the media is to hold institutions and powerful people accountable for their actions. Holt said that journalists need to fearlessly cut through assaults on the truth and continue to expose injustice. Our democracy depends on it.
- We have a responsibility to support young journalists – Veteran journalists and others who work in communications and media should support up-and-coming journalists in order to preserve the values, ethics and expertise in the field. In no time at all, the American people will look to this next generation for credible, unbiased information about important issues impacting their daily lives. We need to instill sound reporting practices.
- Journalists must remain steadfast amid political uncertainty – Whether you approve of the current administration or not, you can’t ignore the fact that President Trump has turned our country’s political traditions – and media – upside down. Holt said that now is journalism’s time to shine. More than anything, the American people need journalists to keep doing what they do best: report the truth and remain objective.
The Cronkite Award Luncheon is the Cronkite School’s premier fundraiser, providing support for the school’s professional programs. Andrea Aker and Taylor Holmes are graduates of the Cronkite School, both having earned Master’s degrees from the prestigious program that’s ranked among the best in the nation.