It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the late, great Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate era.
His commitment to excellence–and to the truth–during a critical time in this country’s history is inspirational. He embodied a no nonsense approach to journalism. He also embraced lofty ideals concerning the role ‘the press’ (as opposed to today’s ‘media’) plays in a democracy.
The combination of these two perspectives brought out the best in his reporters and in his newspaper.
I recently came across an interview from the 1980s in which he discussed the Watergate story, the impact of very public success as well as very public failure (he experienced a few of both).
The video is 28 minutes long. You can find it HERE.
My suggestion is that you brew a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. Watch the video unhurried. Take it in. Digest it.
What you’ll hear Ben Bradlee articulate is the mindset that today’s newspaper publishers, editors, and journalists should possess: the thoroughness, the candor, the rigor, the courage–everything it takes to gather, distill, analyze, organize, write, and print news that’s going to inform and enlighten. And the willingness to take the beating or the blessing that comes along with doing that job.
Make no mistake: a free, responsible, and relentless press is key to ‘We the People’ maintaining a healthy democracy. It helps us make informed and perhaps even good choices when it comes to the people we put in office…and the people we allow to stay in office.
It also helps us sort out the fact from the hyperbole, especially when it comes to climate change, vaccines, and foreign policy, just to name a few.
So take a moment a listen to Old Money Guy Ben Bradlee. There’s more than a little wisdom here. Enjoy.