An Engaged Journalist’s Creed

I believe that journalism belongs to all the people and that journalists are stewards acting on their behalf.

I believe that the highest and best expression of journalism in the 21st century is Engaged Journalism, a full partnership between those who report the news and those whose lives are affected by it.

Engaged journalism’s purpose is to make journalism more open, accessible, collaborative and participatory while maintaining the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, fairness, clarity and impartiality. Engaged Journalism is consistent with and supports the historical mission of professional journalism — public service, self-governance and a better life for all.

Truth and trust are the linchpins of engaged journalism. Engaged journalists see public trust not as an abstraction, but as a relationship with an abiding desire to connect on a human level. Engaged Journalism is inclusive, authentic and reciprocal, with a goal of supporting people and communities to thrive.

Engaged journalists recognize that journalism isn’t just on behalf of the people, but in concert with them. Engaged journalists see the public not as an audience but as a community, and people as citizens, not as customers. People see journalists as part of that community, not apart from it or hostile to it.

Engaged journalists go beyond institutional perspectives and sources, devoting special attention to the lived experiences of the people in the story. In considering what is newsworthy, engaged journalists are mindful of whose story is being told, who tells the story, and who benefits from the stories being told. The people who newsrooms aim to serve are respected in the process of deciding what is newsworthy.

Engaged journalists regard listening as a superpower. They listen with empathy and respect, and they wish to hear a more complete story. They listen to learn, not just to tell. Listening is foundational in fostering trust between communities and journalists, as well as within communities.

Engaged journalists foster inclusion to ensure all have a voice and an opportunity to be heard. Engaged journalists strive to accurately represent a community as made up of diverse experiences and not as a monolith or as stereotypes.

In addition to revealing problems, engaged journalists illuminate possibilities. In addition to who, what, when, where, why, and how, engaged journalists ask, “What’s possible now?”

Engaged Journalism builds capacity through experimentation with networks, collaboration, shared infrastructure and technology. It doesn’t seek to “save” journalism; it seeks to increase journalism, with more people participating on many platforms and in non-traditional settings.

I believe that the journalism that succeeds best—and best deserves success—is introspective, honest and responsible; corrects its mistakes willingly, fully and openly; works to mitigate against bias of any sort and promotes justice; contextualizes information and strives to be as complete as possible. It seeks truth, meaning and understanding.

I believe Engaged Journalism isn’t a subset or offshoot of journalism; it is journalism. It encourages journalists and others who contribute to journalism to explore new ways of enhancing public knowledge and civic life. It elevates democratic principles and practices and champions the public’s right to know.