CARSON: Two years at Franklin restores faith in journalism

Monday, November 19th, 2012

By Kelly Carson | Watchdog.org

RENEWED FAITH: An editor with three decades of experience finds renewed faith in journalism.

A little more than two years ago, I was considering abandoning my journalism career for something a little more stable — perhaps phlebotomy.

The newspaper in Baltimore where I worked had closed in early 2009, and I joined the ranks of hundreds of journalists on the unemployment line. After 18 months of searching, I was at my wits’ end.

I didn’t see much opportunity at the time for a 50-plus-year-old reporter turned editor. The jobs just weren’t there, no matter how often I checked journalismjobs.com and other industry-specific employment sites. What jobs there were seemed tailored to beginners, people just out of school, or PR types. I would have taken any job, of course, but none were offered.

And anyway, the practice of journalism as I knew it had devolved into game of survival, doing anything to hang on to a precious job. It wasn’t the journalism that my mother taught me — meaningful journalism that made a community stronger. I thought I was ready to move on.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up.

After learning the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity was looking for a copy editor, I decided to give it one more shot. I sent my resume, talked to a couple of people and had a wonderful, in-depth conversation with Jason Stverak, president of the nonprofit journalism initiative.

I have been blessed every day since.

In two years, Franklin Center has grown beyond my wildest imagination, and Stverak has brought me along every step of the way. He has encouraged me to think beyond my experience as a traditional print journalist, and at times to question even the lessons taught to me by my parents, who owned dozens of small newspapers around the country.

I’ve learned that journalism isn’t dead. It is beginning a new life, one that allows reporters instant access to their readers — and readers access to their news and to each other — in a way that just wasn’t possible a few years ago.

I may bring decades of journalism experience to the table, but the reporters and bureau chiefs I work with have taught me more in the past two years than anything I learned in the previous three decades.

It’s an endeavor I’m proud to be part of, and a journey I only dreamed about a few years ago.

Yep, I’m really glad I didn’t give up on journalism.  Phlebotomy is difficult to spell.

Kelly Carson is senior content editor of Watchdog.org, a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Contact her at kcarson@watchdog.org.

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