By Sonya Rehman
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, while addressing students in the Lecture Hall said; “For me, the highest mission of a journalist is to ferret the truth.”
In an inspiring lecture, Huffington talked about how in journalism, the pursuit for truth is rarely ever found in the middle. “It’s on one side or the other,” Huffington said. She then talked about how the media went into a tizzy over the ‘Balloon Boy’ story not very long ago. Huffington believed these “distractions in journalism” are a “voyeuristic national phenomenon.”
“I’d rather watch the golf channel,” Huffington said with a smile on her face, “I want my empathy reserved for stories where I can make a difference.”
Due to turn 5 on the 9th of May, the Huffington post started out with 500 bloggers. Today, it has over 3000 bloggers. “When we started,” Huffington said (about the inception of the Huffington Post), “We wanted to provide a platform for those who have a lot to say.”
In this day and age, Huffington subscribes to the notion that news is becoming more social. “People want to be part of an evolving story and not just consume stories,” Huffington said. “Self-expression is the new entertainment. By bringing them [the people] in, we can transform journalism.”
“Our job is to be truth-tellers, to tell stories that capture people’s hearts and attention,” she said.
Towards the end of her lecture, Huffington said that she sees the future of journalism as being a “hybrid future,” where the best of new media and the best of traditional media strike a harmonious balance.
And this, she believes, has given rise to the golden age of journalism.
*Huffington was at the J-School in April, 2010. This piece was penned for the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism website.