This week we teamed up with PRSA Oregon for our September “Like a Boss” Coffee Chat on the topic of Journalism Done Right. We had an amazing panel of respected journalists who shared their insights, recommendations and thoughts on the state of the media today, including breaking news, social and digital content and that pesky “fake news.” Thanks to Malia Spencer, Dan Cook, Lucinda Kay and Heidi Williams for bringing your expertise to the event.  As a follow up, our A.wordsmith team weighs in on our key takeaways from the morning, go-to news sources and favorite journalists.  Remember to go out and subscribe to your favorite newspaper and support great journalism!



Key takeaway: How journalists have and are continuing to adapt to the changes brought on by the digital world. Panelist Heidi Williams made a point on how breaking news used to be day-to-day and now it’s minute-to-minute – requiring journalists to quickly navigate through new information. The speed, surplus of content and battle against non-journalists in the digital era drive the continued need for honest, quality reporting.

Go-to news source: NPR, The New York Times, OregonLive

Favorite journalist: Ann Curry



Key takeaway: How passionate the four panelists were about it being the duty of consumers to find a trustworthy news source and share it – subscribe, re-post and tell friends. Authentic, real news can be difficult to sift through these days, and media work extremely hard to remain truthful and report what’s important – so if you like them, help them out.

Go-to news source: NPR is my go-to every morning

Favorite journalist: Rachel Martin and David Green, I listen to their daily NPR podcast ‘Up First’



Key takeaway: One of the things that really stood out to me was the need for consumers to take responsibility for supporting legitimate news sources and amplifying those voices. Journalists are doing a lot of hard work to maintain their personal and industry ethics, but we have to help boost them as viewers and readers.

Go-to news source: I can always rely on NPR to give a variety of news, from important happenings to lifestyle stories. They’re always balanced in their reporting!

Favorite journalist: I have always appreciated Hunter S. Thompson’s unique and important contributions to what it means to be a storyteller. As for someone currently in the field, I really admire Katie Couric, Ann Curry and Anderson Cooper.



Key takeaway: The increasing need for people to understand how to evaluate sources of information: “Now there are so many voices out there claiming to be the news and claiming to give the facts,” Lucinda Kay said. “You have to have such a keen eye as a consumer.”

Go-to news source: Harvard Business Review and New York Times

Favorite journalist: Bob Woodward




Key takeaway: I thought Heidi’s insights on news teams figuring out how to add commentary to political stories without seeming biased in the age of fake news and extremist groups becoming more prevalent was interesting. The whole discussion around fake news made me think that any source reporters use is under much higher scrutiny that maybe they would be in the past, and that’s something we need to be more aware of as PR reps.

Go-to news source: I’m a big fan of newsletters: Quartz Daily, Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal and  Washington Post’s daily newsletter. I also love ProPublica.

Favorite journalist: Michelle Ye Hee Lee, an investigative reporter at the Washington Post. She does a lot of great reporting on the money side of politics, and used to write for the Post’s Fact Checker, which is one of my favorite columns.



Key takeaway: I loved Lucinda’s commentary about the value of authentic journalism, and how storytelling has an incredible power to drive action and ignite change.

Go-to news source: The Skimm is my ultimate go-to! It provides a straightforward (and hilarious) pulse on what’s trending every morning, with an extra dash of sass. I’m also an avid reader of the New York Times.

Favorite journalist: Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Anderson Cooper



Key takeaway: I thought it was very interesting that even long-time journalists struggle with the concept of fake news. It must be very difficult to call out lies in our current news environment without seeming hyper-partisan.

Go-to news source: I love the BBC; I can stay current on American affairs and what’s going on around the world at the same time. I worked at an NPR station, so I heard the BBC World News Update every single day. I fell in love with the way they told stories – not to mention the accents.

Favorite journalist: Anna Kasparian is my all-time favorite journalist. She’s genuine and truly passionate about what she does.



Key takeaway: The discussion around social media’s role in modern-day reporting was very interesting. Newsfeeds are how so many of us get our news these days, but this means credible reporting is appearing right alongside (and even competing with) fake news. I think we’ve already seen the consequences, and I feel for journalists fighting to report facts amid all the noise. Not to mention, the potential ethical pitfalls of a live-stream/live-tweet/live-commentary on breaking news stories seem numerous (the Malheur reporting stories Heidi shared, as an example).

My go-to news source: The New York Times

Favorite journalist: With a wealth of respected experience, reading Dan Rather’s recent perspectives on current events is like therapy to me.



Key takeaway: The point about supporting quality journalism and the importance of offering positive feedback. Like all of the panelists said, there’s so much junk floating around that isn’t journalism, so it’s essential to use your own platform (however small) to elevate the good stuff.

Go-to news source: I love listening to OPB/NPR on the way to work. I also enjoy the Atlantic, New York Times (my non-news guilty pleasure is their Modern Love column) and the Wall Street Journal. BBC is good for an international perspective too.

Favorite journalist: Tough to pick! Because I listen to OPB the most, probably Steve Inskeep in the morning.



Key takeaway: The reminder that the onus for deciphering real versus fake news falls on everyone –  not just reporters.  We all have to be educated and put the time into understanding the issues and identifying reliable news sources.

Go-to news source: New York Times and theSkimm

Favorite journalist: Tom Brokaw and Rachel Maddow