Thanks to the Tufts Daily, I barely graduated. My GPA looked like a typo. But when I interviewed for jobs, no one cared: They just couldn’t believe what we had done with the resources we had. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a damn miracle.
I’ve since worked in national news and I keep learning the same lesson: You won’t find a smarter, more passionate, more driven cohort in any newsroom. Sure, we had some clunkers (ask me), but if you make it into national news, especially TV, you’ll find that the clunkers are running the show (ask me).
What I loved most — aside from our team — was that we were outsiders; the way journalists are supposed to be. We had disdain for too many things, it’s true. We were sometimes nihilistic or dismissive. But we had the mistrust of power and institutions that pumps through the veins of all good journalists.
We need more of that spirit in journalism today. And we need to apply it to journalism itself. The fact that journalism is under attack today should not make our defense of it unquestioning. It should inspire us not just to do journalism better as it’s defined, but to redefine it as something better.
And what better place for aspirational idealism than college? The Tufts Daily and Tufts University have given hundreds of aspiring journalists the opportunity to honor that mistrust of power, to hone the tools with which we express it and to fail — non-fatally making the mistakes necessary for any decent learning process.
And oh my god was it fun.
Thank you to both institutions for all of it, for letting me be a part of it, and for making it a part of me.
Jonathan Larsen (LA’88), editor in chief spring 1988