Letter from the editor


Julie Adam.jpg

At our annual J-School Generations event this year, we tried something new. We asked three of our alumni to give TED-style talks, but the only direction we gave them was this: the talk should have something to do with journalism, and we hoped that each one would be inspirational. Not such a big request, right? Just stand up in front of a group of people and inspire them about journalism. Although this year, with our industry under attack and lumped into the same “media” category as fake news, you could argue that might be a tall order.

Our speakers, Erica Hawthorne, Andy Marso and Johanna Maska, told us about their very different paths to get where they are today. Their stories made us think and laugh and cry. We were inspired by their voices, full of grit, tenacity, tragedy – and hope.

Maska told us about “The Audacity of Tenacity” and how she didn’t let a few “no” answers stop her from getting a job on President Obama’s staff.

Marso shared his story, "Everything Happens for a Reason -- or Does It?: A Personal Examination of the World's Worst Cliché,” about his physical and mental triumph over a virus that almost killed him.

Hawthorne’s talk, titled, “The Extraordinary Powers of Small but Mighty Jayhawk” could describe any of us. We leave the Stauffer-Flint nest full of knowledge and memories and dreams, and we become the testament of the place where we found our voice – the voice of the Jayhawks. 

Officially, our alumnus Brian Hanni snagged that title earlier this year, when he landed his dream job: taking over earlier this year. Hanni was thrilled to join us for J-School Generations this year, and he inspired the theme of this edition of the magazine. We profiled Hanni and learned what inspired him to go into play-by-play broadcasting. We talked to other Jayhawk voices, Kevin Harlan, Laura Okmin and Brian Sieman, to find out what inspired them about journalism and the paths they took.

No matter what paths our journalism alumni have taken, those voices are more important than ever in this era when our livelihood and the First Amendment are under attack. Voices of ethics, integrity and professionalism – the lessons learned at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications – need to be louder and stronger than ever.

Julie Adam (j'89)
Editor, Jayhawk Journalist
julieadam@ku.edu

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