A perfect holiday gift: Subscribe to the news

If you’re stressing over what to give friends and loved ones during this holiday season, I’m here to help.

Consider giving them print or digital subscriptions — or both — to news organizations you regularly count on to provide strong journalism. That includes national newspapers and magazines, as well as regional papers that anchor your communities. Keep in mind public radio and television stations, too, which always need more financial support.

Now, I understand how you might see this request as self-serving on my part. I am a journalist, to state the obvious; worse, to state the god-awful for some, I am a columnist paid to give my opinion. Surely, I have a vested interest in the survival of my profession.

The thing is, so do you.

Regardless of whom we supported for president, it should concern all of us that we are about to enter a period of alarming uncertainty regarding media access to the White House. So far, we have no reason to believe that Donald Trump will not continue his campaign practice of abuse and avoidance.

Democracy cannot thrive without journalists who hold accountable those elected to protect it.

No recent president has been fond of the media, but President-elect Trump has taken this wariness to new lows. He has made clear, repeatedly and loudly, that he hates us and sees no reason even to speak to us.

Days after his election, he accused the media of “inciting” protests against him. This was a lie. During his campaign, he banned a growing list of reporters and repeatedly mocked the journalists standing in front of him. He also encouraged supporters at his rallies to taunt the media and call them names.

Journalists and the news organizations that employ them are not about to cave. For all the complaints about media coverage, many of them justified, a large number of journalists, mostly for print organizations, brought close and relentless scrutiny to Trump’s campaign. In this era of increasingly influential “fake news” sites, they are now doubling down on efforts to provide sound reporting that will still include the fact-checks that Trump so loathes.

Doesn’t it make you feel a little bit better to know that journalists will keep trying? Wouldn’t you rather have all the information and decide for yourself what matters?

If you’re holding a newspaper right now to read my column, it’s possible that I’m the only liberal on this page. Many editorial pages skew more conservative, yet here I am.

Think what that says about newspapers and the people deciding what goes on their opinion pages. They may not agree with me, but they publish my opinions anyway because they value the wild tumble of ideas over an echo chamber. I am grateful, of course, to these newspapers and every online site that runs my column. This is democracy in action — and isn’t it nice to be so respected?

Less than an hour ago, I finished up my last journalism class for this semester as a professional in residence at Kent State University.

Many of my journalism students were alarmed by the outcome of the presidential race, but they have quickly rallied. They understand their role in keeping our country free, and they are eager to join the profession. I take heart in knowing that soon enough, they’ll be out there.

Let’s support them, shall we? Let’s invest in the future of journalism, while we still can.


Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University.