Casually sitting in the swivel chair across from me, Gregory M. Lamb comfortably responded to all my questions. On December 7, 2009, I arrived at the Christian Science Monitor at 1:30. I was greeted by am elderly man who had been in the newspaper industry a majority of his life. The carefully planned reception area of the Christian Science Monitor had an air of importance and regality. Mr. Lamb graciously met with me to discuss Journalism and the world of Journalism.
Gregory M. Lamb went to Principe College near St. Louis across Mississippi river. While he did not study journalism he did however, major in History. After college (1972) he moved to Boston, MA to live with a friend and eventually stumbled upon the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) and has been here ever since.
His first job at the CSM was in the wire room. From there he worked his way up the totem pole. Since college he has had one employer and one employer only. Lamb is currently writing about technology and the environment.
As a member of the Christian Science Church, his beliefs did factor into his decision to join the CSM. Lamb considers himself a religious man, however, his religion does not necessarily affect his work. The CSM is “not trying to be religious publication. The Christian Science Monitor’s purpose is to be a good news publication,” says Lamb.
While Lamb does not the the CSM pushes it’s beliefs of its publications, Lamb believes that each writer’s background and personality is a part of their work. “Everybody puts something of their own background, as much as they want to be as unbiased as possible, everyone puts something of themselves or their background into what they write.”
According to Lamb, the CSM is doing better now than it had with a daily news publication. Now the CSM is reaching more readers and their needs better through the internet. On the flip-side, their weekly publication delves into issues deeper than their internet publications and gives readers a physical relationship with the Monitor. Between the two, the CSM knows they are reaching more people. “I think it’s been a win,” claims Lamb.
The recession, Lamb explains, had very little affect on the reduction of print journalism at the CSM. Their decision of eliminating a daily paper was because of their need to look more towards the future.
In this period of technological change thier is a need to update journalism methods, however, the fundamentals of journalism have not, and will not, change. Most importantly, Lamb explains, “People are always going to want unbiased, clear information that they can count on.” People are going to want information that helps them in their lives and helps them understand the world around them.
Older journalists will have to update their skills and younger journalists will have to learn the skills. A part of these new skills includes “familiarity audio, video, and getting things online, the difference between a blog and a story, what venue works best with this story: pictures, print, or a blog? How to approach it. There are many more choices and possibilities, but a journalist should be fluent in all languages of communicating. It serves people well right now to try to have some fluency in all of them,” says Lamb.
“Finding out how to use our new tools is best to serve our readers, our learners listeners, and viewers,” explains Lamb.
The three most important skills a young journalist should have are:
- While a person doesn’t have to love to write, or read their own writing, a person has to learn to like it. A journalist has to have the skills to develop knowledge and turn it into a form of communication.
- Persistence. “A journalist cannot be shy.”
What I found interesting about my interview with Gregory Lamb, was his favorite part about journalism. Lamb likes to live by the quote: “I don’t enjoy writing. I enjoy having written.” Writing may be a pain in the moment, but in the end, when you’ve finished your work, there is not greater satisfaction than knowing you put hard work and effort into honing your craft.
Wrapping up our interview, Gregory Lamb said something so profoundly true it was almost astonishing. He said, “Your job [as a journalist] is to say, ‘Here’s the truth. Here’s the information. Now it’s up to you to process it and decide how to react.’” As journalists it is our job to discover the truth, report the truth, and give the readers, the public, the opportunity to form their own conclusions. It is not necessarily our job to encourage a certain action or response from our audience.