Why Care What I Say?
After all, I’m just “Fake News,” right? A card-carrying member of a profession that is definitely not the favorite of Americans in this day and age. Trust me, it’s not an easy time to be a journalist right now. Myself and so many of my friends have been insulted, harassed and almost assaulted because we carry a camera. A man once circled me on his bicycle, shouting “Fake News!” at me while I was out covering the 2017 Krewe of Gemini Parade. However, if you’re expecting me to raise my fist and rail against this image, I confess that you are going to be disappointed. That’s because I know that we didn’t get to this point without cause. I’ll be the first journalist to tell you that I am very, very aware of the tumultuous time for my bread and butter. I’ll also be the first to tell you that there are many bad “journalists” who should not be sitting on the platforms currently propping them up.
I was raised to recognize that in order for you to improve yourself, you must always be aware of your own flaws and work to overcome them every day. But I also know that I can’t control which journalist or “journalist” is given speaking time on air or inches in a publication. What I can control is myself and my own actions. If you’re still with me, then let me tell you a few things about myself that will hopefully show that I am someone who can prove themselves worthy of your trust: 1) I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Oklahoma, specializing in Broadcast. 2) Since graduating, I’ve been working as a journalist for nearly seven years. 3) In that time, I have reported for five different stations in six different cities in three different states. (Seriously, just TRY getting your W-2s.) Here comes Number 4 and it’s a big one. 4) I have made mistakes. I have gotten stories wrong before, just like anyone in any profession across the globe. I have made fact errors and my actions have led to at least several clarifications on the air. Every single one of those errors ripped me apart, emotionally and physically. I got nauseated every time because I take a fact error personally.
Fact errors mean that I failed you.
Fact errors mean I have done you all a great disservice.
I have been far angrier with myself than any news director has ever been with me. I didn’t get into Broadcast Journalism to be on T.V. This is the best way I knew how to help people. I was too squeamish to become a doctor and I didn’t have the courage to enlist in the military but my family and friends always told me I had some skills at writing and storytelling. That is my favorite part about my job. As a journalist, I am there for people on their best days and their worst. I’ve stood beside fires and flood waters, protests and parades, meetings and manhunts, all to do my best to bring everyone every true detail that I can find. I’ve also spent hours combing through piles of documents in my investigations to help a veteran get better health care, to find out why taxpayer dollars went to the dead and why city officials spent so much money while on expensive trips. I walk into the station every day recognizing my great privilege and my supreme responsibility. I think of all of you every day and how I work for YOU. You are my biggest boss and you always have been. If you feel like you can trust a journalist with this pattern of thinking, then welcome to my website and I hope you enjoy my stories.
If perhaps you're still not convinced, please take the time to watch this video as well. My station took the time to sit down with me and ask me why I do what I do.
This is a journey that I love walking with all of you and I want you to know how much your trust means to me. Until next time, I’ll see you in the field! -Nick Lawton