I had the privilege yesterday of hearing from Brian Kelly, the editor of U.S. News & World Report. Brian, a ’76 grad of Georgetown, came back to campus to participate in a Dean’s Lunch Seminar, a program initiated by my office. Brian’s had an interesting and varied journalistic career, moving from the Chicago Sun-Times to a small political magazine in DC, Regardie’s, to the Washington Post, then to U.S. News & World Report, where he worked for nine years before being named editor in 2007.
He spoke to a small group of Georgetown students about his early days as a political reporter (“I covered crime and politics, but in Chicago, it’s pretty much the same story”), about the opportunities and challenges the Internet has brought to journalism (“Bloggers often use MSM [mainstream media] as a derogatory term, though in the MSM we actually check our facts”), and about why he still has a passion for journalism even after 30 years (“Journalism is not about being witty or clever or the smartest guy in the room. It’s a service, it’s about communicating with the public”).
Brian also had a few things to say about the international nature of his journalism career:
One of the joys of being a journalist is getting to see the world, having a ring side seat.
But he also cautioned that the conventional path to foreign correspondency is not an easy one. There are very few actual foreign correspondents left anymore, he said. “U.S. News has closed 10 foreign bureaus in the past few years and I see no prospect of reopening them. So what then is filling that information gap?”
Even so, Brian sees journalism as a fascinating potential field for those who want to have a career that tackles a vast diversity of issues and has the potential to take them around the world. “Journalism is a blank slate. You bring to it whatever you bring with you.”
Tags: In the Field