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  • Writer's pictureDennis Hetzel

Donald Trump's Gift to Journalists - and the rest of us

From my debut as a blogger at the Huffington Post ...

December was a milepost month for my wife and me. It was finally time for our downsizing, empty-nest move. We’d spent months shedding stuff that no longer mattered or fulfilled any needs. But some items don’t lend themselves to selling or donating quite so easily.

Rummaging through a cardboard box, I found yellowing clips of forgotten stories I had written as a young reporter. I wondered how much it mattered. Did I touch a few lives; add to some understanding; do something positive that found its way into a scrapbook from time to time? Did I do my job with honesty and integrity? I cringed a few times at the writing quality but was pleased that I appeared to get my facts right, grasp the context of my material and treat my subjects with respect. Such are the values of good journalism.

One clip chronicled my first trip to Washington. I met our Congressman, House Speaker Bob Michel, and wrote about legislation to strip-mine prime agricultural land in rural Illinois. A few years later, I followed Ronald Reagan around a Wisconsin dairy farm. There were personality profiles of colorful lawyers and stories about children who got sick while swimming in municipal pools. I covered high school football for two seasons in the Chicago suburbs and exposed the secret bigamy of a Manson-like murderer in Racine, Wis.

A few weeks later, I stumbled upon notes of talks I gave in the 1990’s on “Journalism’s Core Values” based on work by the American Society of News Editors. By then, I had become editor and a publisher of the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania.

I considered the quaint notion of “journalism values” in the context of Donald Trump.

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