A Free Press

I‘ve been absent from these pages these past few months because much of my time has been consumed by activities involving, not housing and property management, but my former profession: journalism.

  • In July I attended the closing of the Los Angeles Times newspaper’s historic headquarters.
  • In August, I spoke at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the 50th year anniversary of the Urban Journalism Workshop program for young minority journalists
  • And in September, I held a book party for a former newspaper colleague who authored a new book on racism, and injustice in American law enforcement.
  • Today, as a consumer rather than a producer of daily journalism, I had almost forgotten the powerful and necessary ways in which the press carries out what Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black said, is its essential role in our democracy to “to serve the governed, not the governors” and “expose deception in government.”


    The three events I participated in this past summer reminded me how much the journalism mandate Justice Black described can shape and impact our lives on issues as disparate as politics, technology and climate change. (The picture at left shows the 2018 class of UJW students and mentors).

    In recent years, the power of the press has sometimes extended even to social media and blogs like this one, which, over the years, has focused attention on digital red lining, subsidized housing injustice and homelessness.

    Martin Baron, my former editor at the Los Angeles Times, who is now editor of the Washington Post, told me last year that “these are exhausting but energizing” times for journalists. Indeed, in addition to journalism’s traditional bread and butter of crime coverage, politics, business and sports news—journalists must now grapple with the seemingly intractable rise in political gridlock and social division, as well as an escalation in mass shootings and skyrocketing opiate drug abuse.

    So I wanted to take time in our last post of the year, to reaffirm my appreciation for the men and women (and the generation to come) whose tireless search for the truth and support for the free exchange of ideas will, hopefully, help our democracy navigate these increasingly turbulent waters.

    3 comments on “A Free Press
    1. James Gerstenzang says:

      …and isn’t it something that we even need that reminder.

    2. John Mitchell says:

      Well said, but I would respectfully replace the word “thankful” with “hopeful.”

    3. Richard Prince -- columnist of "Journal-isms," says:

      Hear, hear!

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