Magazine article The Quill

'This I Know': A Valentine Worth Sharing

Magazine article The Quill

'This I Know': A Valentine Worth Sharing

Article excerpt

OUR SPJ COLLEAGUES IN COLORADO have produced a video that I'd like to bring to your attention.

It's a 60-second valentine to the power of journalism called "This I Know."

The video was born out of the frustration many of us felt after coming so tantalizing close to passage of a national shield law for journalists in late 2010.

But then came WikiLeaks, and the bipartisan support we had won came unglued. At the end of that debate, you might have thought that the whole point of the shield law was to deal with Julian Assange.

Lost in that debate was the simple fact of the people a shield law was meant to protect: hard-working journalists whose work shines a light on those dark or unnoticed corners of society. It's work that is vital to the health of a democracy.

So last spring, a group of volunteers set out to remind people of the real beneficiaries of a shield law: not just the journalists who produce this valuable work, but the readers, viewers and listeners who depend upon it.

To drive home this point, we assembled a cast of mostly non-journalists. They included a lawyer, a hospice director, a public relations professional, a bartender, a gadfly and a law student.

The only journalist in the bunch was a 16-year-old crusading editor of a high school newspaper.

The one common denominator of the group was the appreciation of the work journalists do.

Underthe direction of my SPJ colleague Cynthia Hessin and the camera work of my friend Jerome Ryden, we gathered one Saturday morning in the Denver studio of Rocky Mountain PBS. …

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