What makes a great journalist? Someone who works hard to uncover the truth, stays on top of trends and issues, frames the discussion, and turns their personal struggles into teachable moments for viewers and/or readers? Yes, all of that and more. In my youth, Linda Ellerbee, Max Robinson and Cecilia Alvear were three outstanding journalists who stood out. Not just for what they reported, but for what they gave to their profession.
When you observe the stellar career of Seattle’s Michelle Millman, you come to the very same conclusion. She’s a veteran journalist who thinks globally about topics, and can brilliantly conceptualize and present them for “local consumption.” Her intellect and command of topics is as impressive as her ability to connect with an expansive and diverse region of viewers. But what has endeared Michelle to an international audience is how she looked adversity in the face, and beat breast cancer.
When one goes through something of this magnitude, they lean on their family and friends the most. But when you are a media personality known for your uncommon generosity, tens of thousands of viewers become supporters you can lean on, too. So the power is not just in how Michelle speaks to the news camera or a teleprompter. It is also in her inspiring story of courage and triumph. I was happy when she agreed to share her thoughts about the state of her profession, and how her life has been transformed.
|Photo Courtesy of Michelle Millman|
In recent years, we have seen reporting that integrates traditional media with social media. How effective do you believe this has been?
Michelle Millman: I think social media, together with traditional media gathering, can be effective. Through Twitter and/or Facebook I am able to reach people who have a story to tell or have some connection to a story I am covering. I have to admit, this is a little harder to accomplish the traditional way. Don’t get me wrong, the “old school” way of making calls, finding addresses or knocking on doors still works, but it’s amazing how fast you can reach people through social media. Also through Twitter and Facebook I can tell my followers what story I am working on or when I’m anchoring a newscast what compelling stories are coming up — it is my hope that immediacy drives more viewers to our newscast.
Also, with the popularity of social media traditional journalists are now competing with bloggers who live right in the community they are blogging about — who knows an issue better than someone who lives in that neighborhood or community? Continue reading