Sowing to Silence
I don’t know if you are like me, but when COViD hit, I started daily tuning into the gift of my lungs. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I would check in to make sure I could still breathe. I never got COVID but I still feel incredibly blessed that my lungs are still with me.
For anyone who needs to be reminded to stop and breathe, to stop doing, to sow into a silence that wants to remind you of how powerful and special you are, here is my personal and Community Allies COVID story.
Years ago, a dear friend of mine, who was both a chiropractor and a physical therapist, taught me about the power available to my body, mind, and spirit when I took time to do deep breathing. I was on a 2-year hiatus from my life as a high school English, Humanities, and French teacher, living in St. Louis with my family, working as a personal trainer at Bally Total Fitness, plugging into exciting St. Louis non-profits, and researching graduate programs. I was relieved to not be working with 125 + people a day and just to be able to focus on one person at a time, on my family, and on my own life, one breath at a time.
15 years later, COVID came at the perfect time for another needed hiatus. I had hit a wall I could not penetrate on my own and was needing to remember how to breath even more intentionally one breath at a time.
The mission of Community Allies is to help businesses, schools, and governments do their part together to restore a village of sectors who work well together for all of our youth and families, especially those overcoming generations of exclusion from our many sectors, a systematic racial exclusion rooted in federal government housing policies. The work of Community Allies is to support businesses, schools and governments in advancing community-centered development by learning with their constituents the solutions their constituents are advancing to ongoing barriers and obstacles they are facing amidst ongoing inequalities and how we can each do our part to be of service in replenishing the specific, requested, needed, and most valuable resources and supports.
This kind of learning posture is key because depending on our race, ethnicity, and class, we have a history of different kinds of access to physical resources (funded schools, transportation, housing, health care, technology, etc.). We also have different kinds of access to voice. For example, in a world that has steadily privileged white people with access to homes, employment, and wealth-building processes, it is not uncommon for their languages and cultures, books, and versions of history and leadership to take up more space and to be the basis for decision-making.
Thus, when we enter into change-making spaces together, we first and foremost need communication practices that help us find one another, that help us de-center people and cultures who are used to having the most voice. The method of change-making we bring, Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ draws on ethnodrama, community development, and literacy to support us in navigating the reality of these challenges together, one intentional and reflective step at a time.
It comes from years of designing, running, and studying youth ethnodrama programs through which youth take up real-world issues, interview people in their communities and in non-profits, government and business, turn their interviews into films, dramas, power points, poems, and whatever we can do in the time we have, and use their art to facilitate dialogue with businesses, schools, and governments about current and needed change-making within and across sectors.
I am so grateful to the many in St. Louis who are advancing change, and when I founded Community Allies in 2015 and returned to St. Louis in 2016, I began plugging into coalitions who are advancing community development in the form of affordable housing and education. The more I learned about community and business organizations, coalitions, and conferences, the better informed I felt about how to bring youth from schools and non-profits who hosted our Community Allies ethnodrama programs to those meetings in ways where youth would be able to follow the conversations and contribute.
These meetings became tremendous learning ground for youth and for me. Sometimes, enough ground had been laid ahead of time by me and others supporting our programming for youth to present their ethnodramas, power points, poems, or whatever time permitted them to present and for them to facilitate power-packed conversations – everyone learning together what different organizations and sectors were doing and where we could lock arms in more ways. When all the right pieces were in place, during youth presentations and facilitation of conversations, much immediate healing took place for everyone, adults especially.
Other times, I am still learning the needed context for the organization, the conference, or industry and the expectations of both the adults and the youth to build the kind of bridge ahead of time both parties need. These presentations and conversations are more challenging and often don't flow as easily, but youth still have enough preparation to navigate tensions in the room about the sensitive issues we are raising and to process with me afterwards their experiences, unpacking each layer of the preparation we have done, and where else we have needed to build bridges, either among us or with our business and community partners and audiences. In the process, we all grow in our relationship-building skills and in our understandings of how to build cross-race bridges to one another and to our audiences.
There is much blessing in inviting the public into our classroom even as we go to them to present youth research. We all experience much-needed healing. The greater the challenge in building a bridge, the greater the learning for all of us in our bridge building to one another and to the public.
The challenge in constantly bringing the world into our classroom is all of the preconceived notions about people of any given race that might at any time percolate our conversations. Our programs contribute to feeding a spirit of humility, honesty, transparency, and discussion about hard realities we all are living and the many places in us and in others where change is needed.
Through ethnodrama and the Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ change-making process, youth and I learn together over time how to keep cultivating that culture of being as real as we can with one another about where we are connecting well and where we are missing one another, while taking a believing stance in one another.
When we go public, the first need is for us to quickly cultivate that kind of learning and transformative culture with adults who are steeped in a divisive shame and blame culture that leads them to quickly judge me, the youth or one another. Our message has always been about coming together to make change. For that message to be engaged, we first need to disarm the impact on our audiences of the realities of St. Louis histories that have perpetuated trauma and prejudice. This trauma and prejudice can get re-inscribed through communication patterns.
The ethnodramatic Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ approach provides community-building honest and transparent grace-based tools, resources, and processes to help us come together on behalf of youth. By the end of a program, youth have looked at an issue from so many angles that they exercise tremendous creativity as they handle the toughest conversations. They also are so steeped in the work of ethnodrama that they are able to head off some of our deepest divisions quickly.
Still, I have learned that to keep going, I need to take breaks. The traumas youth carry are ongoing and heavy. Youth need us to come together now and quickly to give them room to come up for air. Audiences are in all different places of understanding their own hurt, trauma, and preconceived notions, and they can quickly ascribe stereotypes to anything we say or do and detach from investing in learning what we are bringing in the form of communication tools and resources that help us work towards unity.
When COVID hit, I took 2 months to breathe. I went back to what my friend had taught me – breathing in through my nose from my belly and filling it with air. Breathing out through my mouth, pushing that air out until every drop of air was gone. And as I breathed, I tuned into my creator and a spiritual realm that is closer than close. I left the world alone and began to lean into my own heart and an expansive spirit that has never put me or anyone I know into any kind of box.
I listened carefully to myself, my voice, my needs, my life journey, and I tuned into places in my life that needed refilling, refueling, and healing. I played worship music or sat in silence and let myself feel deep wells of grief in me that align with the grief around me. I started a running conversation with God, locking eyes with Him and talking everything that came to me out with him, capturing it in my journal so I wouldn’t forget.
Over that 2 months of sowing to silence, to listening, to leaning into an expansive and generous spirit, I experienced a palpable spiritual anointing. I began to understand what it means not only to sow to silence, but to sow to a spiritual relationship that is always waiting for me to stop and look up. I could hear my creator saying to me every morning – Sarah, don’t do another thing. Let me do for you. Let me love you. Just be with me. Just spend time with me.
2 months later, I began an 8-week youth program that did not require public presenting, and I found myself living from a much deeper place, in step with what I experience as a resurrection force that could now flow through me, that wasn’t getting stuck in places of any hesitation in me. I had gained a rootedness and an ability to trust myself and my ever present spiritual partner, no matter what the challenge before me.
Yes, that rootedness and self-trust have always been there. I just sometimes forget to invest in sowing to silence so that I make adequate time to do life in step with myself and my creator, to really be with myself and to listen for what my path is and what my creator is waiting to teach me and show me.
What was different about my faith life during these COVID months was I put my creator first in every moment of my life, leaning into a renewed sense of my creator's love for me, before anyone or anything else. I set aside ample time for Him to speak into my life and to lead me and to be my healer.
That time with Him changed everything. It set me on a path of drinking deeply from His presence, of being able to receive His carefully chosen blessings for me, and of growing my capacity to follow His lead and to really hear where and what my daily assignment is – how through the gifts my creator entrusts to me that we together cultivate, I get to be a part of His specifically fashioned and hand-delivered blessing for someone.
Since then, I have entered into a 2-year busy season that has required a new set of learning curves, and the lessons of that 2-month COVID window have helped me believe in the goodness unfolding and to press into it with everything I have.
For any who resonate with my need to stop and sow to silence, I wonder – for you, in your story and your journey,
Here is what I know. The silence isn’t as scary as you might think. You may not have 2 months to soak it in, but I know if you take time to breathe deeply each day and to listen to and to honor the powerful person and voice in you, it will begin to change everything for you one step at a time.
Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ Part 1: Creating Room for An Expansive Heart to Dwell
Last night, my neighbors and I stood on our shared balcony and gazed together on the beauty of the moon. The moon reflects the sun’s light. In a lunar eclipse, the earth blocks the sun’s light. When we watch a lunar eclipse, as we look at the moon, we see the shadow of the earth as it moves in front of the moon.
Last night, the majesty of the moment captivated us. I am especially grateful to Wenjie (Harry) Wu who had a magnificent telescopic camera that helped us compare what we saw in the sky with what appeared in his pictures (his photo is above).
One of my neighbors asked me – “do moments like this make you more overwhelmed by how vast the earth is or do they bring you peace?” In truth, moments like this simultaneously fill me with wonder, awe, fear, comfort and peace. I step into an expansive and creative mind, heart, and spirit that lines up with what I feel in my own heart.
I feel the immensity of the earth blocking the sun’s light and sense in the awe and fear that fills me how I and the entire world are at the mercy of something much larger than ourselves. The earth’s shadow moving its way across the bright reflected sun’s light on the moon reminds me of the unnecessary suffering of so many people across generations of time because of the selfishness and brokenness of humankind.
And yet, simultaneously, I also feel a deepened intimacy with the creator of this much beauty. I feel like I am locking eyes with my creator. I feel like my creator is making Himself known to me, being fully transparent with me, filling my soul with life so expansive it never ends. I feel seen. Known so completely. Held. Loved. Covered by the one who knows the darkness well and has made a way for me to see that my creator holds the world in His hands, no matter how dark it gets.
And all I want to do is gaze into my creator's face and bask in my creator's beauty and hold onto my creator's generous love for me, learn again how to live for the rest of my life from this place of awe, gratitude, and love. I sense that even though the earth is blocking the light from the sun, the light has won. The darkness cannot put out the light. The light will always make its way to me.
I begin to hear again the inner dialogue that passes between me and my creator, and I open to how my creator’s spirit is showing me more ways to live and love so deeply that no matter what darkness I encounter, when I turn inward, I will always find the light and know how to let my creator’s reflected light reach through the earth’s shadow to those around me.
There is a Bible verse that has always been my guiding light. It has always spoken to me, called me into the expansiveness of my creator’s heart, spirit, and mind. It is the inspiration behind Community Allies and Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™. It is this Psalm from King David.
Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” A few verses later, in a way I totally resonate with because I too often need to speak to myself this way, David writes “My heart says of you, “Seek his face! Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8).
So much of my training from the world has oriented around self-sufficiency, independence, and individualism. So when trouble, confusion or hardship come, my temptation is to dig in, take it on, solve it myself, and triumph over it. It is in fact what the world would say is a healthy go-getter mindset.
For me, this training casts a shadow over who I am called to be and how I am called to create my life. When instead of intellectualizing every challenge I face, I build a life where my creator can dwell, I am freed up to root myself in hearing my own voice as it is intertwined with my creator's.
I can lean into my creator's spirit in what I create for every area of my life (friends, family, work, career, etc), and I am freed up to root myself in more and more of the expansiveness of my creator's heart, to step into the protection my creator's light brings, and to reflect more of my creator's light as I go.
This is my story. It is the spirit in me and behind the work I do. My faith and my worldview are not something I impose on others or on organizations who invite me in, but just as I invite others to share their stories in all I do, this is my story of the heart I feel beating through me that fuels my passion for people and for organizations.
I love to facilitate change-making teams who together create room for something larger and more expansive to appear. Inevitably, the change needed in our industries, in our communities, and in our families makes itself known through the team’s collective gifts and insights that are revealed as we learn what it means to build thriving communities.
The change-management approach Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ comes from many fields, the core fields being ethnodrama, literacy, teacher research, and community development. Each of these fields points to the power of intentionality, thoughtfulness, care, and reflection in building our lives and communities.
Each of these fields points to the individual as a member of a much broader collective, a broader collective than in our worldly training we often have yet to see or consider. Each of these fields helps us see more dimensions of ourselves, our families, and of the many communities who are shaping our lives and vice versa.
Each of these fields helps us get better at creating our lives in step with a more expansive mind, heart, and spirit. In the process, we discover the special gifts, talents, cultures, and skills we bring to the larger collective, and vice versa – all that people who may not look, talk and act like us bring.
When we slow down to build communities rooted in this kind of intentionality, we together step into places of transformation. We expand our inner and collective capacities to engage in change-making with those who see the world much differently than we do. We start down the path of building and sustaining communities and organizational cultures that support each of us individually and collectively in thriving.
In Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ Part 2: Cross-Sector Change-Making, you will learn how this change-making approach is taking hold in the mortgage industry.
Mom- Master Of Multitasking
Mother, Mom- Master Of Multitasking; is a title that comes with so many roles and responsibilities. Being a mom is a full-time job with no leave days or sick days, and moms try to do complete justice to all the tasks they face. Mothers mean a lot to us and are the ones that mostly set the initial foundation for us. Whether you’re a “work at home mom,” a “working mom,” you wear many hats, and in honor of Mothers Day, here are a few and why we love them so. (Momspresso, 2018)
A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make it a competent human being. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most rewarding job a woman will ever experience (Diranian, 2017). A mother helps guide their child to figure out their goals and values in life as well as teach them the importance of education, manners, and more. Providing your child with a safe and secure environment protects them from abuse and harm as well as helps boost their child's mental and emotional development.
On Mother’s Day, we celebrate women who have stepped in to take on a maternal role on so many occasions. Women are mentors, guides, supporters, and even rescuers. Women nurture, affirm, encourage, give solace and give us a reality check (Sirota, 2015).
To all the mothers in the world, those who gave birth to us and those who didn't, we appreciate you, we love you and your sacrifices don’t go unnoticed.
Diranian, S. (2017, June 13). The Meaning of Being a Mother. Retrieved from Hello Motherhood: https://www.hellomotherhood.com/article/536701-the-meaning-of-being-a-mother/
Mode, S. a. (2016, January 31). 10 Hats I Wear As A Mother. Retrieved from Sandy a la Mode: https://www.sandyalamode.com/2016/01/31/10-hats-i-wear-as-a-mother/
Momspresso. (2018, March 16). 20n hats that mothers wear. Retrieved from Momspresso: https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/indian-son-in-law-is-the-permanent-guest-of-honor/article/20-hats-that-moms-wear
Sirota, M. (2015, May 11). What Makes a Mother? Retrieved from Huffpost: https://www.huffpost.com/archive/ca/entry/what-makes-a-mother_b_7256794
A mother is the only person who carries you in her belly for nine months, three years in her arms, and forever in her heart (Eagle, 2020). What makes a mother a mother? Does it only denote “one who has a child” or is it something more? Does someone who has not given birth or has no child qualify to be called a mother?
The official definitions given to the term ‘mother’ range from one who “gives birth to a child” to adoptive or stepmothers to mothering meaning “to watch over, nourish and protect maternally.” This means that every woman can be a mother whether they have children or not. (Jessen, 2014).
Bearing children most certainly makes one a mother, but motherhood is much more than that. Traditionally, we were inclined to think of a mother as a selfless, loving, patient, warm woman. She might be, but that’s not all that makes a mother. A mother is not a devoted and submissive wife who lives patiently and tirelessly for the comfort of others; a selfless, giving, caring creature who ceases to exist outside of her children as soon as they are born. (Harrisson, 2020). A mother is not someone who gives up her entire life and person to raise children; because who are those children, if their mom has no life of her own?
Motherhood is the essence of who we are as women. Mothers are found in all shapes and forms and can be sisters, friends, aunts, leaders, teachers or anyone who is willing to reach out to another human being with love. Every mother has a special blend of attributes that she can use to lead, guide, and lift others, be it an adult or a child.
So, who are mothers?
People who mother the world are part of what makes a mother. These include mentors, foster parents, aunts, single dads who play the role of both mother and father, grandparents, nannies, caregivers, and people who mother their parents through sickness or old age. These are also stepmothers who have earned a bad reputation through fairy tales, but who knowingly choose to take on a child as their own, often navigating tricky adult relationships along the way.
Those who choose not to have children because they genuinely believe it’s not a fit for them, yet they work to improve the world and make it a better place to live in also deserve recognition and celebration. Not everyone wants to be a mother, and that is very much in order.
Mother's Day is a day that focuses on celebrating and honoring mothers and maternal figures for all they do. It's a day that asks people to show gratitude to maternal figures for their impact on our personal lives and their work in society at large. The earliest history of Mothers Day goes back to the ancient Greeks who dedicated the annual spring festivals to celebrating their maternal gods. The occasion was in honor of Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. The early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England, they expanded the holiday to include all mothers and named it Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday started in the 1600s. After the church service in honor of the Virgin Mary, children were encouraged to bring gifts and flowers in honor of their own mothers. Servants, employees, and apprentices who were working away from their own homes were also encouraged to visit their mothers and celebrate them and with them (MothersDay, 2020).
In the United States, the idea of Mother’s Day was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe, an activist, writer, and poet, in 1872. She suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace.
Present-day celebrations are held on the second Sunday of May annually. The day has become very popular in many countries with people gifting and appreciating mothers all over the world. Whether you are a mom with no children or many, an empty-nester or a new mother, a loving aunt or a friend, Mother's Day is for you. Your nurturing and caring ways qualify you as a mother. Mothering is a special gift designed to help and comfort others who need your strength. Regardless of how we mother, we are all doing our best with the circumstances and strengths we have. Though there are no perfect mothers, there are many great ones. (Jessen, 2014).
ReferencesEagle. (2020, April 24).
The Meaning of Life. Retrieved from Timeless Life: https://timelesslife.info/a-mother-is-the-only-person-who-carries-you-for-9-months-in-her-belly-3-years-in-her-arms-and-forever-in-her-heart
Harrisson, K. H. (2020, June 25). What Is a Mother? Not What You’ve Been Told. Retrieved from Undefining Motherhood: https://undefiningmotherhood.com/what-are-mothers/
Jessen, W. (2014, May 9). Who is a mother? Retrieved from Ktar: https://ktar.com/story/300500/who-is-a-mother/
MothersDay. (2020). Mother's Day History. Retrieved from Mothers Day: https://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-history.html
World Press Freedom Day
“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.” Walter Cronkite (WACC, 2020). Press freedom requires a press free of government interference, free of corporate bias, and free to challenge and dispute. It requires candid journalism, investigative journalism that tells it like it is, and day-to-day reporting that is fair and balanced. Press is the medium that conveys the truth to people.
The idea that the press should be granted some form of freedom only emerged after the press became commonplace. The invention of mechanized printing in the 15th century led to the proliferation of books, newspapers, and other publications that spread ideas faster and farther than ever before. Publications have the potential of spreading ideas and information, eventually changing people. These ideas spread through publications and could challenge the power structures in place, including political and religious authorities that had autonomy in decision making. These authorities had to curtail these publications that they deemed subversive.
Americans enjoy the freedom of the press as one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press, was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights (History, 2018).
In the history of free press, before the thirteen colonies declared independence from Great Britain, the British government would censor the American press to prevent them from spreading or publishing unfavorable information against them. American free press ideals can be traced back to Cato’s Letters, a collection of essays criticizing the British political system that were published widely across pre-Revolutionary America.
The state of Virginia was the first to formally protect the press in 1776. The 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights stated, “The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments. (History, 2018)”. The Virginia representative and later president James Madison would borrow from that declaration when drafting the First Amendment.
The annual World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the Reporters Without Borders campaign group, surveys that the top ten countries with the best conditions for journalism and reporting in 2020 are: Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Portugal respectively. The bottom ten are Cuba, Laos, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, Djibouti, China, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, and lastly North Korea (Power, 2020). The United States ranked 37 of 199 countries.
Reporters Without Borders ranks countries based on the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom. It does not measure the quality of journalism in the countries it assesses, nor does it look at human rights violations in general.
World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is an annual celebration of press freedom, observed on 3 May, and whose main celebration is organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This day is commemorated annually to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics as well as to support media professionals, who are the targets of the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom.
The WFPD theme for 2022 is ‘Journalism Under Digital Siege.’ The goal is to underline the role of the information in an online media environment by focussing on the following; the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information, and privacy (Ryan, 2022).
The media is a very powerful tool, they have the power to influence the views of a whole public. Freedom of the press is important for keeping people informed. A free press monitors the administration and forces them to work for the betterment of the country.
ReferencesHistory. (2018, August 18). Freedom of the Press. Retrieved from History: The First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press, was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights.
Power, G. (2020, April 24). The best and worst countries for press freedom. Retrieved from The Week: https://www.theweek.co.uk/the-week-unwrapped/106717/the-best-and-worst-countries-for-press-freedom
Ryan, J. (2022, April 26). World Press Freedom Day 2022. Retrieved from UK Parliament: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2022-0088/
WACC. (2020, November 2). Democracy is freedom of the press. Retrieved from WACC: https://waccglobal.org/democracy-is-freedom-of-the-press/
Free and Responsible Press
“To think is sacred; let every person think freely! To express what you think is sacred; let every person express his thought freely! If you do this, you prove that you are a conscientious and a moral human being! If you don’t do this, you just declare yourself being fascist!” Mehmet Murat Ildan (QUOTEFANCY, 2022).
In December 1942, President Robert M. Hutchins of the University of Chicago selected a dozen scholars under the guidance of Henry R. Luce of Time to form an inquiry into the freedom of the press: both its present state and prospects (Lyons, 1999). This was the first time the performance of the press was being reviewed by a highly competent, independent body with adequate resources.
The results of the study came out with a warning that, only a responsible press can remain free: separate from government and business and other institutional interests. Failure of the press to meet the needs of a society dependent on it for information and ideas is the greatest danger to its freedom.
Freedom of the press is important for keeping people informed. The media plays an important role in the building of public opinion and views of millions on various topics of regional, national and international agenda and bringing into light the hidden injustices. A free press has a huge responsibility of reporting the truth and shaping people’s opinions. Responsible journalism must be practiced to stop people from spreading hate and maintaining the harmony of a country.
The democratic integrity of a country is judged by the freedom that the media enjoys in that country. Press freedom is the cornerstone of democratic societies, all nations are strengthened by information, debate, and the exchange of opinions. Freedom of the press is construed as an absence of interference by outside entities, such as a government or religious organization, rather than as a right for authors to have their works published by other people. Even a dictator cannot neglect the power press has since every political ideology demands propaganda and publicity which only the press can provide.
The freedom of the press remains so crucial to preserving our system of governance because the press acts as a fundamental check upon society and government. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Freedom of conscience, of education, or speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged. (Young, 2018)” Our founding fathers accorded freedom of the press such a prominent placement in our Constitution because it represented the inherent values and liberties that the United States was founded on.
A free press fights for the truth; there are many issues that journalists are trained to analyze and explain. Without newspapers, radio shows, blogs, etc, the average person would have little to no knowledge of what’s going on around them. Ordinary citizens often lack the time and expertise to research and investigate issues that may affect them. Armed with skills like research and critical thinking, the best journalists know what questions to ask, what leads to pursue, and how to fact-check to give accurate, credible, and relatable information to the public (Soken-Huberty, 2022).
One of the free press’ main missions is serving as a watchdog on power. Many entities can benefit from the truth staying hidden, including governments, so the press serves as the bridge between the people and powerful entities. Without freedom of the press, journalists who try to tell the truth when it threatens the state are not protected by the law.
A free press informs voters and strengthens democracy. It seeks out and circulates news, information, ideas, comment, and opinion and holds those in authority to account. Being informed ensures people understand the issues at hand and what policies and politicians best represent them. The press is the body that informs by analyzing information, encouraging discussion, and fact-checking. It would be very difficult and time-consuming for voters to do all their work on their own. A strong media makes the process less complicated and offers valuable insight.
The press is sometimes called the fourth estate. It suggests an important, coherent, and independent force in society. The press does not share the same aims as government, the legislature, the executive, religion, or commerce. It is or should be, an outsider (Rusbridger, 2011).
The press, when it does what it should, speaks the truth to power. It is a check on corruption, excesses, and stupidity in government and in business.
ReferencesLyons, L. m. (1999, December 15). 1947: A Free and Responsible Press. Retrieved from Nieman Reports: https://niemanreports.org/articles/1947-a-free-and-responsible-press/
QUOTEFANCY. (2022). Mehmet Murat ildan Quotes. Retrieved from QUOTE FANCY: https://quotefancy.com/mehmet-murat-ildan-quotes
Rusbridger, A. (2011, October 6). The importance of a free press. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/oct/06/importance-free-press-alan-rusbridger
Soken-Huberty, E. (2022). https://www.humanrightscareers.com/issues/why-is-freedom-of-the-press-important-in-a-democracy/. Retrieved from Human Rights Careers: https://www.humanrightscareers.com/issues/why-is-freedom-of-the-press-important-in-a-democracy/
Young, H. (2018, March 16). The value of freedom of press. Retrieved from NEWS PRESS : https://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/contributors/2018/03/16/high-school-essay-winner-value-freedom-press/400711002/
Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.