Cristiane Amanpour, CNN
I feel today a renewal of hope, that great journalism and great reporting will be making a comeback. That content, and not just the speed and variety and proficiency of our technology and our delivery systems will be important again maybe there will be times where we can devote our airwaves to the complexity of all that matters so much are there, instead of seeking such brevity. I feel a new sense of urgency as the new president faces tasks all over the world of challenges such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, what to do about Guantanamo Bay, how to lead in climate change, what to do in this massive financial crisis. And I hope we will be up to the challenge of reporting that.
And I hope that again professional journalists will really come into their own and seize back the territory, that we don’t need to be ceding completely to the citizen journalists --and I say that seriously, because when people read a John Burns, or listen to a George Stephanopoulos, or read a Frank or an Aliaxei, they know that they are getting facts. They know that they are getting first-hand reporting. They are getting knowledge. They are getting experience and credibility. They know that they can trust what they read and hear.
And at CNN, through Ted Turner’s revolution, I have been a part of this amazing phenomenon that’s changed the world. As I watch and report war and peace, pain and joy, I’ve tried to tell the stories of the people who have been caught up in all of this. And despite all of the agony that we as witnesses endure there is almost a kind of ecstasy. The ecstasy is in knowing that it mattered. In knowing that it shook people. In knowing that it touched their hearts, made them think, and fired their imagination. In knowing that in the very least we, as journalists, were witnessing history, and at the very best we could actually make a difference.
We lived large. We thought large. We were filled with the possibility of what was out there, and what we could contribute. And this is what I hope for today when I consider the impact of a new US administration on the world, and how we in the media, particularly foreign correspondents, can correctly reflect that. How we can really help people understand what goes on and why it matters and why we need to be engaged. When I talked to and mentor young people who want to be journalists, I tell them that my first and most fervent hope for them is that they find something that sets them on fire, that gives them pride and passion and joy. At CNN, the work that we’ve done and the work that I’ve been able to do over nearly twenty years as a foreign correspondent have done for me. And something that instills in them a deep sense of commitment. A deep sense of mission and of vision.
The International Center for Journalists, who we are here talking about promotes that kind of quality. And it believes, like I do, that by raising the standard of journalism and constantly promoting an independent and vigorous media that, that is vital to improving the human condition. I sincerely, believe that. Its what keeps me going. Its what keeps John going I’m sure. And Frank and Alexei and all the people who go out and do this kind of work. We do it because we believe in it and we believe it makes a difference.