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Let's dump these four cherished journalistic ideals

This is the transcript of a lecture that I delivered last Friday while accepting the AP-Eunson Distinguished Lecturer Award at my undergraduate alma mater, Northern Arizona University. The ceremony is a joint endeavor between the Associated Press and the School of Communications. Once you've read the entire speech, I think you'll understand why I felt a little nervous about delivering these remarks to the students and faculty. To be honest, I felt quite anxious and many times, while speaking, paused to ask myself, "Should I really read this next part?" To my surprise, the speech was greeted with enthusiasm and heartfelt support. So, I present it to you as well, hoping it finds another receptive audience.


 

I want to begin with a cautionary note. I didn’t study journalism while in school. I was a music major here at Northern Arizona University and later earned a Master’s in Music from the University of Michigan. I performed professionally as an opera singer for years and never once considered taking a job as a journalist.

My first job in radio was as a weekend classical music host at KNAU, the public radio station that serves north and central Arizona including the Navajo and Hopi reservations. I began reporting just a few months after taking the job when an NPR producer offered to train me; I then took every training course and fellowship that was offered to me. 23 years later, I have anchored shows on NPR and PBS and reported for the BBC, CNN, and a whole slew of others.

My point in relating this history is to show that all my training has had to be on-the-job or finding mentors and asking them how to do things and never, ever turn down an offer of free training. It didn’t matter if I thought the subject was relevant to my work duties or not; if someone offered to teach me how to do something, I said yes.

That’s not advice, by the way. I’m just telling you how I got from there to here.

I get asked to speak at high schools and universities a lot. Over time, I’ve learned not to give advice. I don’t tell young people what they should or shouldn’t do. I don’t give them a list of the ten things successful people do every morning, or the three habits to avoid. Nor do I warn them about what obstacles lie in store, or what mistakes I made that they could learn from.

In my experience, young people don’t really want any advice. I certainly didn’t when I was younger. And yet, at transitional moments in life—graduations, weddings, childbirth, new jobs—most people tend to give a lot of advice and ask very few questions. I think that’s a mistake.

It would be wonderful if advice helped us learn, by the way. Imagine—if every generation warned the next one about possible mistakes and stumbling blocks and recommended best practices and the younger generation said, thanks for that, and then chose not to make those same mistakes. Then, having not repeated the errors of their parents, they passed on their wisdom to the next generation. Imagine the progress we would make if that were how humans learned. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that.

We all need to make our own mistakes, mostly because so many of us think we’re an exception. We hear warnings about smoking or high cholesterol diets or texting while driving, and it doesn’t change our behavior a bit. When tragic things occur, a common response is, “I never thought it could happen to me.” It’s rare that we hear about someone else’s misjudgment and change our behavior or our lifestyle so that we don’t commit the same error. It’s rare.

I have found that giving people advice—not just young people, all people—is pointless for me and irritating for them. So, I don’t do it anymore unless I’m specifically asked. But I still talk about my mistakes. Because while it’s rare for others to learn from the errors of others, it’s not impossible. Someone just might see what I’ve done wrong and imagine a better way.

So, while I don’t wish to give you any advice this evening, I do want to talk to you about the mistakes my profession has made, in the hope that we—collectively—might learn from them and institute systemic reforms to prevent us from making the same grievous errors in the future.

I’ll focus tonight on four misguided values that journalists adopted more than half a century ago, values that many reporters and editors still uphold today. These principles have led to irresponsible coverage and have at times caused us not only to fail to condemn violence, but even to promote it. They have contributed to our political divide. These values were adopted, I believe, with the best of intentions. But the result of putting them into practice has been injustice, inequity, and the victimization of the least powerful in our society. The values I’m talking about are:

  1. Balanced coverage

  2. Objectivity

  3. Meritocracy

  4. Gut instinct (news judgment or news sense)

Let’s examine them one at a time. The desire to present balance in our coverage, especially of politics, comes from a reasonable and morally justified place. Journalism as we understand it today is a recent development in human history. In centuries past, reporting the news amounted to little more than repeating pronouncements from a king or a powerful aristocrat.

So, allowing space for a dissenting voice is a good thing. Except that for decades many organizations have followed the seesaw model, never letting one side rise above the other and habitually using a dissenting source as a counterbalance. I suppose that might work if every issue, every problem, had exactly two sides.

The BBC now uses a wagon wheel model, by the way, assuming that all the different perspectives are spokes on a wheel. But that doesn’t work either because balance simply cannot be achieved in most stories.

Pursuing balance means we are not discovering dissent but are actively seeking it. It steers our coverage toward conflict. Consider how well that has worked on issues like climate change, where there really is no substantive dissenting scientific view. Scientists don’t significantly disagree that the planet is warming and that humans are the root cause. Scientists are also nearly united in saying that GMOs are safe. They’ve spent years studying genetically modified crops, peer reviewing experiments, and analyzing data, and almost unanimously they say that GMOs are safe.

So, why do nearly 60% of Americans believe they are not safe? Because irresponsible coverage has presented the issue as though it’s a debate between two equal sides. The bottom line is: it is not possible to present fully balanced news reporting or tell all sides of any complicated story. The only reason we started to see stories about GMOs appear in our newspapers and news updates was that regular people with little to no scientific experience didn’t understand what GMOs were and were thus suspicious of them. So, reporters anxious for a juicy story about angry consumers rushed over to quote their fears in articles that raised concerns instead of telling the more boring scientific truth.

News coverage so often includes the voices only of those on the ends of every spectrum, the most “colorful” voices who are angry about something. When we do this, we don’t have to look for conflict or a dissenting voice, because both are coming to us. It saves us time. The end result of this practice is that a very narrow range of opinions is heard in news reports and those opinions are generally those that are furthest outside the mainstream.

Another unfortunate side effect of emphasizing balance is that we now present nearly all political coverage as party conflict. How do you balance out an interview with a Republican? Well, you could invest a lot of time into providing context and fact-checking or even take a risk and point out what is true or untrue to the best of current knowledge… or you could just do an interview with a Democrat.

To believe that balance is a fundamental necessity for journalism is to trust that journalists “know” who the key players are on these issues, that they know who the real stakeholders are, and who will be most affected. But that’s not true. We don’t have an empirical method for examining evidence and identifying the underpinnings of broader societal issues. We search for people who are writing blogs and giving interviews on various subjects, and we book them.

Research shows, and I will quote directly from a report here, “that journalism is largely an oral culture which relies on evidence gathered in face-to-face conversations with like-minded peers and friends and takes such views to be representative of the broader public, when in fact they are often skewed by the assumption of insider cultures.”

In the 1970s, journalists noticed that society’s elites—politicians, academics, wealthy people, corporate leaders—were dominating news stories and they very rightly believed this was wrong, that all people deserve to have a voice in the coverage of their own communities. So, they began to do interviews with “regular” people, standing outside grocery stores and collecting quotes from the proverbial “man on the street.”

While doing this, reporters noticed that average people often say colorful and amusing things. Often, an average person’s views on science are more entertaining than the views of actual scientists, so they began including “regular” people in all their reports. They started using plumbers angry about their kids’ school to counterbalance experienced teachers and having retail workers provide pushback on hospital administrators.

This is no insult to regular people. I’m simply noting that we often ask them to provide balance opposite people who are experts in a particular field. It would be just as wrong to interview a physicist about plumbing or a surgeon about the crowds on Black Friday. Now, given what I have said and what I’m about to say, you might start to think that I hate journalism. The truth is, I revere my profession. At the end of the day, I think my work helps to make the world a better place. Journalism is the only profession specifically protected by the Constitution because that’s how important we are to democracy. I’m passionate about getting the story right and frustrated with our missteps because I take this work seriously and I can’t just shrug off our mistakes.

There are a lot of media critics and ethicists and plain haters happy to point out our failings, but I believe that we should be the first to ask tough questions of ourselves, to interrogate our decisions, and to both accept criticism without defensiveness and learn from it when it’s valid.

For example, a study in the UK showed that news coverage leading up to the Brexit vote was weighted in favor of the Leave campaign 82% to 18%. That’s in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of experts believed leaving the EU would damage the British economy and hurt the average Brit. Which, of course, is what has happened. Our attempt to manufacture balance has brought new voices into our coverage, but we include them with no context or fact-checking or editorial oversight. How many times did we quote people talking about their fear of bathroom predators, and how many times did we say that myth is wholly unfounded and ridiculous, that law enforcement agencies could not provide evidence of a single trans person assaulting someone in a restroom? Another example: in 2005, in a story about abortion, the Associated Press included a quote from Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women. Gandy is also an attorney and a former fellow at the JFK School of Government at Harvard.

To “balance” her, they spoke to Troy Newman, president of an anti-abortion group. Yet, the AP failed to mention that Newman’s group has a long history of inciting violence, that their former leader once said “hate is good” and urged members to let a wave of intolerance and hatred wash over them, and that Newman himself described the murder of a doctor as a “justifiable action.”

We don’t have to look to history for examples, by the way. Journalists are doing this now. There are news reports all over the country right now about the concerns some voters have about reverse racism, but these reports rarely explain that reverse racism does not exist. It’s not real, regardless of how many people believe it is. Reporting on concerns about reverse racism is like interviewing people about their fear of talking hand soap or bloodthirsty unicorns.

As LA Times investigative reporter Ken Silverstein once said, “’Balanced’ is not fair. It’s just an easy way of avoiding real reporting and shirking our responsibility to inform readers.” There’s even been research showing that some organizations are so afraid they’ll be accused of being unbalanced, they withhold information from the public because the facts make one group look very bad and the news orgs don’t want to appear ideologically motivated. Another study found newsrooms often distort their reports to make them align with the beliefs of a biased populace in order to earn a reputation for quality.

When I say that we need to interrogate our decisions and identify our missteps, I am also talking about vaccine hesitancy. You could argue that the current mistrust in vaccines is at least partly our fault.

In 1998, the British activist and former physician Andrew Wakefield held a press conference touting his “research” (Wakefield and his co-authors were later found guilty of scientific misrepresentation and ethical violations) that “proved” there was a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Scientists paid very little attention. Why? Because they had heard similar wild, unfounded allegations about vaccines before and, what’s more, many had read Wakefield’s research and knew it was flawed and suspicious.

But anti-vaccine activists tried a new tactic in their quest to sway public opinion. They didn’t reach out to science journalists. Instead, they sent a message to non-science journalists. They pitched Wakefield’s research as a human-interest piece and offered interviews with moms who were afraid of vaccines and just wanted to protect their kids.

This strategy was unbelievably successful. Wakefield’s press conference was held in 1998. Four years later, 10 percent of all science stories were about the MMR vaccine and more than 80% of them were not written by science reporters.

Ben Goldacre, the Bennett Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine and director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford, said: “Suddenly we were getting comment and advice on complex matters of immunology and epidemiology from people who would more usually have been telling us about a funny thing that happened with the au pair on the way to a dinner party.”

And Simon Singh, a theoretical and particle physicist and science writer explained why he had started refusing interview requests from non-science journalists: “I am increasingly declining interviews about, say, homeopathy, because it is not my job to provide false balance and thereby justify bad journalism. Most recently a BBC local radio station wanted to have a jolly chat about cupping in light of its use by Olympic athletes. I declined, because the piece was inevitably going to be (a) Simon says it is rubbish, (b) cupping therapists says it works for some people, (c) patient says it worked for them, (d) hosts says that opinion is divided, but isn’t it interesting, and (e) a series of callers ring in with their tales of cupping miracles. I don’t want to be part of that sort of journalism.” We cannot achieve balance in our reporting. Instead, we must strive to gather the best, most informed voices that we can, along with the voices of those most affected by the issues, and allow each to speak to their own expertise. We should not invite them to speak authoritatively on any issue or voice whatever opinion they have. While every person deserves respect, not every opinion does. It’s our role as journalists to make that distinction.

And by the way, there are many dedicated reporters and editors who are already doing this. When you read a story that gets it right, please share it and praise it on social media, rather than tweeting in outrage when you see an example of bad reporting. Make it your practice to greet outstanding journalism with respect and applause and sloppy journalism with silence.

There is another cherished value in our profession that’s not only harmful but impossible to achieve and that’s objectivity. The Oxford English Dictionary defines objective as "to not be influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts." The non-profit Accountable Journalism says good reporting requires separating all commentary from news. My response is: how on earth can we possibly accomplish this?

The emphasis on objectivity is based on the “view from nowhere” principle as described by philosopher Thomas Nagel. Upholding this principle means reporters must stick to the facts without allowing their personal experiences to shape their coverage. Except that’s ridiculous, of course, and we all know that if we are honest with ourselves.

Neuroscientists estimate that 98% of our thoughts are unconscious. What’s more, every human being has unconscious biases, which means that the majority of our thoughts are not only outside our control but also shaped by the prejudices, stereotypes, and inaccurate assumptions that linger in the dark halls from which our thoughts arise.

The idea that reporters should be neutral was rooted in bias from the start. For most of our history, only white guys were assumed to be truly objective. Of course, that was never true. They didn’t have a “view from nowhere.” They had a view from the world of a white male. A great example of this played out at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2020. A white male reporter posted something on social media about the Black Lives Matter protests. He received a warning about violating the paper’s social media policy and was then allowed to go on with his work. When a Black reporter posted something similar, she was taken off the story because she had demonstrated bias.

Because of incidents like this, a large group of public media journalists issued an open letter in January of last year, demanding reforms in our industry. The letter is easily available online and it outlines practical, actionable steps that any organization can take to become anti-racist. Let me read you the section that demands an end to the pursuit of objectivity. “Every person brings their own experience and perspective into the newsroom, which informs the work they do. The opinions of reporters, editors, and producers in the industry shape what stories are published, and how they sound and are told. The pursuit of objectivity denies this reality and leads to the silencing of journalists whose subjective reality — being Black, or trans, or working class, for example — leads to them being labeled as incapable of being objective. “With increased transparency we can earn the trust of the public we serve — longtime listeners and future listeners alienated by not seeing themselves reflected in coverage — rather than assuming their trust is ours to lose.”

Over time, journalism has allowed the false principles of objectivity and balance to become surrogates for truth.

The view from nowhere is also known among psychologists as the neutrality bias, something the News Literacy Project defines as “a type of bias in which a journalist or news outlet tries so hard to avoid appearing biased that the coverage actually misrepresents the facts.” Think of all the mottos associated with our profession. What does journalism do? It afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted. That’s hard to do if you don’t have an opinion on who’s comfortable and who is afflicted. Journalism holds power to account and speaks truth to power. Again, that presupposes that power needs to be watched, that it requires oversight, that it tends to deny the truth, all of which are opinions.

Journalist are okay with subjectivity in some cases and not in others. We are not objective about murder, for example. We are not objective about child pornography or human trafficking. We don’t feel a need to present both sides of the animal abuse issue. We don’t report on crop circles or ghost sightings, because we don’t believe they’re real. We reveal our lack of neutrality in many ways. For example, the growth of the economy is always framed as something positive. Rob Wijnberg, founding editor of The Correspondent, wrote that, “All journalism…begins and ends with ideas about good and evil. The planet getting hotter isn’t news because it’s fact. The planet getting hotter is news because that’s a bad thing.”

Human beings are not capable of being either neutral or objective. That’s not a failing; it’s part of our humanity. It’s something I think should be celebrated and appreciated, not suppressed.

The solution is not to train journalists to “not be biased,” since that’s impossible. The solution is to expect bias. Once again, we need to interrogate ourselves and try to make our implicit biases explicit. We must watch for assumptions in our writing and establish protocols that guard against their expression.

Journalistic objectivity is a threat to democracy, and I am comfortable saying, even though it reveals my bias, that I’m on the side of democracy. I’ve decided that democracy is, writ large, a good thing, and autocracy is a bad thing. That’s my opinion and it influences my reporting. If we are not allowed to make a judgment about what is good and what is bad, we are forced to allow others to do it for us. That can often lead to great damage to society and harm to individuals.

Until very recently, journalistic ethics did not include a stipulation to minimize harm. I find that remarkable, considering the incredible harm we can do when we fail. History is replete with examples and cautionary tales. You need only look at the number of newspapers that have reexamined their past coverage and apologized for the suffering it caused. The most recent newspaper to publish the results of an investigation like this is the Oregonian. Last week, the paper issued a report saying, “The now 161-year-old daily newspaper spent decades reinforcing the racial divide in a state founded as whites-only, fomenting the racism that people of color faced.

“It excused lynching. It promoted segregation. It opposed equal rights for women and people of color. It celebrated laws to exclude Asian immigrants. It described Native Americans as uncivilized, saying their extermination might be needed. The newspaper helped create the Oregon of today: A majority white state, with the West Coast’s smallest proportion of Black residents, anchored by Portland, America’s whitest big city.”

Apologies like this lead me to believe that the phrase “try to do no harm” should be posted in every newsroom in the country.

In the Code of Ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists, we’re advised to “balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort; show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage, [and] consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publication.”

What does that mean? It means that when the president of the United States lies about how many people attended his inauguration, the proper response is not to report that—quote—“Trump’s crowd size misses his mark,” as Politico did. Or publish a headline that says “Donald Trump claims 1.5 million people came to his inauguration” as Vox did, only to refute that claim in the following edition.

Instead, you need to clearly announce that one of the world’s most powerful politicians is lying, without repeating the lie in the headline. About 80% of people only read headlines and others read only the first couple paragraphs of an article. Burying the truth and context deeper in a piece while leading with a provocative lie is no different, in practical terms, from printing a lie.

“Not taking a position” becomes indistinguishable from spreading propaganda while throwing up your hands and saying, “We’re just reporting on what people said. We don’t have a horse in this race. We’re objective.”

I should mention that the Society of Professional Journalists has removed objectivity from its ethics code. However, as I am still working for public media, I should also mention that the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the law that established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, states: “Created programs that are controversial should be objective and present a balance of opinions.” It’s time to update that language.

It’s also time to stop thinking that the best and most talented among us will naturally advance. I cannot speak for other news organizations but certainly in public media there is a deep-seated belief that the anchors of national shows, like me, and the correspondents, those who are promoted and win Peabody awards, are the hardest-working and the best among us.

Sadly, that’s not true. And it’s provably, demonstrably not true. That’s not to say that I’m not good at what I do, or that any of the storied and honored journalists in public media are not hard-working, diligent, and talented. I’m merely pointing out that there are likely many others who could do as well or better.

America is not a meritocracy, and neither is journalism. Think of it this way: if we truly lived in a meritocracy, that would mean that white men are simply better at everything. That would mean white men are better CEOs, better news anchors, better politicians, better surgeons, better everything.

And here’s another data point to chew on: research shows that the more an organization emphasizes meritocratic values—that hard work will help you earn promotions, that the cream rises to the top—the more likely discrimination exists in the workplace. Let me read directly from a 2010 research study report called “The Paradox of Meritocracy:” “Emphasizing meritocratic values at the organizational level had a counterintuitive effect, which strengthened biases in favor of men over equally performing women. This is the "paradox of meritocracy," a situation where people can show greater levels of gender bias when they are in a context that emphasizes meritocracy. Ironically, working in an environment that highlights meritocracy might make individuals believe that they are fair and objective, and as a result, make them more likely to display their biases. The authors suggest that promoting less managerial discretion, more accountability, and transparency in the workplace can mitigate these negative effects.”

Less managerial discretion means involving more people in consequential decisions rather than allowing just a few to shape policy and promote people. More accountability means you must create specific metrics and make people responsible for meeting stated goals. Don’t simply craft a statement that says, “Diversity is important to us,” but define what it looks like to be an inclusive and equitable organization and how you will know when you’ve succeeded. And, finally, transparency. Try not to keep secrets if most of your employees are reporters. That doesn’t usually work out well.

I want to reiterate that my focus on these areas of concern comes from a place of not just love for my profession, but optimism as well. I wouldn’t waste my time doing this research and giving this speech if I didn’t believe that reform was possible.

Our work is too important to keep doing what we’ve always done, putting our heads down, and ignoring the consequences. The stakes are too high for us to downplay the complaints of young people and claim they’re too entitled or too whiny to understand what’s going on or that they just need to pay their dues. People who are new to the industry are often able to see things that we miss, as we’ve become inured to them.

We now come to the last cherished value that I believe we should let go of: gut instinct or news sense.

I’m not sure there is a more sacred quality in our industry than good news judgment. And yet, when asked to define it, most of us struggle.

What makes a story newsworthy? For decades, we’ve been taught to remember the essential quintet: Timeliness, Relevance, Identification, Sensation, and Conflict. But ask us how we know that a story is relevant and it’s tough to pin down, mostly because we know it in our gut, right? A relevant story is either fairly important to a lot of people or extremely important to a small group. But if we really followed that logic instead of letting our gut instinct influence us, the war in Syria would get more coverage than the war in Ukraine. In Syria, tens of thousands have been forcibly displaced or disappeared and between half a million and 610,000 have been killed.

We don’t hear more about Syria in news coverage because it’s been years since the war began and editors often don’t feel that conflict is as relevant to their audience as the war in Ukraine. Recently, a group of researchers in the UK said that journalism is “an essentially defensive profession that constantly justifies its authority in constructing our collective truths,” and that seems painfully accurate.

So often, we believe we are listening to our intuition when we are in fact hearing only our unconscious bias. Eric Bonabeau, a global expert in complex systems and adaptive problem solving, said, “Intuition has its place in decision making—you should not ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience—but anyone who thinks that intuition is a substitute for reason is indulging in a risky delusion. Detached from rigorous analysis, intuition is a fickle and undependable guide.”

If we are to become a more inclusive profession, we must stop believing that we know things “in our guts.” We need to define what makes a good story, track which stories are given the green light and which are rejected, and make our decisions about coverage as transparent as possible.

I know this will be a difficult transition. What's more powerful in journalism than the idea of good news instinct? That's how we decide what stories get on the air: instinct. That's how we choose who is a good reporter and who isn't. When I’ve asked newsrooms to identify the factors that determine whether a story is good or not, no one has yet been able to articulate specifics. We know a story is good because we know, right? We know a good story when we hear one. We know a good host when we hear one. We know a leader when we see one. We know this person is not ready to be a manager and this person is. We can tell.

But that knowledge, that knowing, isn’t sacred or magic. It’s not the indefinably deep understanding of a veteran, it’s just gut instinct. And gut instinct is just another way of saying System 1 thinking—that's the fast, automatic thinking we engage in thousands of times a day. We're supposed to use System 1 thinking for simple, inconsequential decisions, like how to put on our shoes, whether to reach out and pet the dog or not, and whether to pick up that glass of water.

Complicated decisions, like whom to hire, whom to promote, and what stories to cover, require careful thought and consideration. They need, not instinct, not hunches, not strong feelings, but anti-racist processes and systems that prevent us from making biased choices. Processes that are measurable, and quantifiable. Processes that can be tracked and explained. So that when we don’t follow those processes, when we decide to make decisions based on instinct instead, we can be held accountable.

This reverence for gut instinct is blocking our efforts to make journalism more equitable and inclusive because it leads us to believe that if we want to be fair, our consciences will prevent us from discriminating. But racism is not a knowledge problem. We know it’s wrong. We’ve known that it’s wrong for hundreds of years, yet we make racist decisions anyway. Racism is a behavior problem.

We're not a mostly white and male industry because we consciously believe white males are better, but because we live in a racist, sexist society and have been raised to believe the racist systems currently in place are logical and smart, and correct. Racism and sexism are the norm.

The way we do things, the way it's always been done, that's what's not working. The systems we're comfortable with are sustaining the discriminatory system that favors white males. Comfort is the enemy at this point. The work that faces us is painful and frustrating and profoundly uncomfortable.

Gut instinct is useful, by the way, when we’re faced with simple decisions where the stakes are relatively low and the results are predictable. You can rely on patterns and statistics. For example, it’s probably smart to assume that all mushrooms you find in the wild are poisonous. No harm is done if you don’t eat a mushroom, but a lot of harm could come from eating the wrong one. So, please, go ahead and stereotype all wild mushrooms. That kind of thinking is less helpful when we’re talking about complex, unpredictable decisions, like whom to hire, and the stakes are high.

In truth, our newsrooms should be as transparent, as accountable, and as equitable as our democracy. Looking back over the past few years, I feel strongly that the government we wish to see in Washington is the structure we must create in our own organizations: thoughtful, ethical, fair, accurate, and always trying to do no harm. This is important to me. I’m willing to fight for these values, and I hope you are, too.

Many people are prepared to make sacrifices in order to create a more equitable and just workplace. I find it fascinating that most managers, when surveyed, wrongly say that the main reason their employees work at their organization is their paycheck. Across dozens of industries, and thousands of employees, we have the evidence to prove that’s not true. The factors that contribute to job satisfaction are achievement, growth, advancement, and the work itself. The work. That’s what we care about. That’s what drives us.

We are surrounded by lies right now, entangled in them, soaked in them like tres leches cake is soaked in milk. That means it’s that much more importa