Truth matters: A commencement address to Global Business Journalism Program graduates

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Here is the text of my address to the 2017 graduating class of the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University on June 28, 2017.

大家好。Добрый день. Benvenuti. Welcome.

I am honored, on behalf of the International Center for Journalists and the international faculty of the Global Business Journalism Program, to congratulate all of you on your successful completion of your graduate studies.

You are a special group – the best young business journalism minds in China, along with a unique mixture of nations: Iran, Israel, Italy, Vietnam, Thailand, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Turkey, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Some of you already have made a mark on the world of business journalism during your Tsinghua years. I have great confidence that many more of you will have an impact in the years to come, in journalism systems as disparate as Iran, the United States and China.

All of us in this room have our differences – cultural, geographical, even political – but one thing that unites us is the search for truth. As Jim Asher, a 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for his role in the Panama Papers investigation, said recently: “A world without facts can’t function.”

We live in an unsettling era when the concept of “truth” can be a matter of dispute. Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Donald Trump, has declared that the White House is entitled to its own “alternative facts.” Whatever that means.

To the graduating class of 2017 and your proud professors, that’s just plain nonsense. We owe it to the public, whether we operate in the United States, China, or anywhere around the world, to share the truth, as best as we can tell it, and to explain what the truth means to our audience. As the 2017 National Press Club president, Jeffrey Ballou, said to fellow American journalists in Akron, Ohio: “Truth is not a game at all.”

The esteemed Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, in Братья Карамазовы, The Brothers Karamazov, summed up the predicament of the perpetual prevaricator. “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie,” he wrote, “comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.”

We must respect knowledge, respect truth, and respect ourselves. We owe it to the global public to use the knowledge we have gained about China and about global economics to provide our audiences with intelligent, insightful and factual reports. With your newfound expertise on the Chinese economy, globalization, corporate strategies and much more, you can communicate clearly and comprehensively, on any multimedia platform, about issues ranging from the Paris climate change accords to the Belt and Road Initiative.

One of my favorite philosophers, Nelson Mandela, said that “a good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

You have something very special – tools that you can use to make the world a more informed and a more just place. Because, as our dean, Liu Binjie, said in his speech welcoming many of you to the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication in September 2016, “Justice is the soul of the news.”

Barbara Cochran, my successor as president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute in Washington, reminds us that truth is an imperfect pursuit, and journalists are imperfect people. “All news organizations make mistakes from time to time,” she said recently, “but they are trying to tell the truth and generally do it well.”

Truth and justice. The Global Business Journalism program has been trying to live up to the highest international standards for the past 10 years. Since 2007, the GBJ program has combined rigorous academics with practical journalism training in a cross-cultural setting at one of the world’s great universities.

Thanks to the vision of brilliant minds such as Professor Li Xiguang, ICFJ president Joyce Barnathan, and ICFJ vice president Vjollca Shtylla, the GBJ program was created. Thanks to the financial and journalistic support of Bloomberg News, ICFJ, the Knight Foundation and Bank of America, it has grown and prospered. Thanks to the commitment of Tsinghua leaders like Dr. Hang Min, Dean Shi, Dean Chen, Dean Hu, Professor Lee Miller, Professor Dai Jia, and many more, it has a bright future. Thanks to dedicated and high-achieving alumni from some 60 countries, GBJ is improving the quality of journalism – and public understanding of economic issues — in China and around the world.

I close by quoting my favorite philosopher, my grandfather, Barrows Dunham. In his 1947 book Man Against Myth, he concluded that understanding the truth was necessary to overcome society’s myths. “With words, as with knowledge generally,” my grandfather wrote, “there can be no substitute for constant analysis of fact.”

Truth. Justice. Words. Knowledge. Tsinghua. That pretty much sums it up. Congratulations on your achievements in the Global Business Journalism Program. I look forward to your truth-telling in the years to come.

谢谢。Thank you.


Gain a global perspective as you improve your journalism skills with the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

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The Global Business Journalism Program is already one of the most prestigious business journalism master’s degree programs in the world. The partnership between the U.S.-based International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University has produced more than 400 graduates from China and around the globe who are bringing advanced technological skills and business reporting expertise to news sites around the world.

This summer, GBJ’s co-director, Rick Dunham, a veteran of 29 years in Washington journalism, will launch a new initiative, the USA Summer Journalism Training Program in Washington, designed to train aspiring journalists from around the world in global best practices. The two-week program is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 4. Sessions will be held at the International Center for Journalists and other venues in Washington.

The USA Summer Journalism Training Program includes more than a dozen training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, and tours of news organizations, as well as Washington-area sightseeing and special social activities. Guest speakers will include prominent Washington journalists, academics and policymakers.

The program is open to all university students and 2017 graduates. Thanks to a generous contribution from a supporter of the program, Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students will receive a $500 scholarship to defray a portion of the program fee. Tsinghua students who also participate in the City University of New York Summer Intensive Program in July will receive a $750 scholarship.

To guarantee personal attention, the program is limited to 25 participants.

Professor Dunham is a former White House correspondent for Business Week magazine, editor of the magazine’s Washington Outlook page, Washington bureau chief of the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers, creator of the Texas on the Potomac blog, 2005 president of the National Press Club, and creator of RickDunhamBlog.com. He is a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, where he teaches multimedia reporting, data journalism storytelling, English news writing and U.S. media culture.

The deadline for applications is May 31. Click here for the program application.

If you have questions, please contact USA Summer Journalism Training Program at SummerProgramDC@gmail.com. You can reach teaching assistant Li Chengzhang at licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn,  (Note: Tsinghua University is not involved in this program, its curriculum or management.)

Here is additional information on the program, in English and Chinese:

项目时间:2017年7月(注:项目时间与CUNY暑期项目不冲突)

项目时长:两周

地点:美国,华盛顿DC,美国记者俱乐部

结业证书:由美国记者协会(ICFJ)颁发

招收对象:在校大学生

Time:July 24-August 4, 2017 (Note: The timing of this program is designed to encourage students to also participate in the Summer Intensive Program at the City University of New York.)

Period: Two weeks

Place: USA, Washington, D.C., The International Center for Journalists and other locations

Completed certificate: From ICFJ, the leading training organization for journalists around the world

Eligibility: Participants must be university students or 2017 graduates

  • 夏令营项目形式:

业界导师授课、嘉宾讲座、研讨会、参观游览及娱乐活动

  • Program contents: Journalism training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, tours of news organizations, Washington-area sightseeing, social activities
  • 课程内容:

多媒体全方位新闻技能培训

包括:采访技巧、如何讲好新闻故事、突发新闻报道、国际新闻报道、多媒体新闻报道、财经新闻写作技巧、华盛顿邮报案例研究、新闻从业者入行需知等版块

  • Journalism training courses

Program contents: Multimedia storytelling, advanced reporting, writing and editing seminars, interview tips, sharpening your business and economic journalism skills, tips for foreign correspondents and data journalism skills training

  • 讲座和研讨会内容:

资深记者分享新闻报道和从业经验,并与行业专家及政府议员探讨全球公共政策问题。

包括:移民问题、贸易问题、能源问题、双边关系、经济与政治相互作用关系等议题。

  • Lectures, sessions and workshops

Program contents: Hear from prominent journalists, academics, think tank representatives and policymakers. Training in journalism skills and policy issues important to a global audience

实践内容:

个人采访作业、小组采访作业

包括:新闻稿件、新闻图片、新闻音频和视频等。同学们通过街头采访的实践机会深入了解和体验美国。

  • Practice:

Individual journalism assignments, group journalism assignments

Program contents: You will work with veteran American journalists to improve your news article writing, news photography, video and audio skills. Students will get to know America and American life better via interviewing local people and policymakers by themselves.

  • 参观游览活动:

(1)参观媒体机构

包括:美国记者俱乐部、美国新闻博物馆、华盛顿邮报报社、彭博新闻社等。

(2)参观历史遗迹

包括:美国国会大厦、林肯纪念堂、杰斐逊纪念堂、马丁·路德·金纪念碑、华盛顿故居、林肯故居、二战纪念碑、朝鲜战争和越南战争纪念碑等。

(注:以上参观游览目的地为可选范围,具体参观游览路线将会视同学们的兴趣而定。负责该项目的美国教授和助教将会带领大家一起出行集体参观游览。)

  • Sightseeing

(1) Media organizations

Planned tours include the National Press Club and the Newseum. Additional visits may include the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Politico

(2) Historical sites

Visits to selected historical sites including the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Albert Einstein Statue, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

(Note: Students can select their preferred sightseeing destinations from above options, specific tour routes will depend on the students’ interests. Our professor and teaching assistant will lead the collective tour.)

  • 娱乐活动:

由Rick Dunham教授主持举办“Texas barbecue”野餐会

在美国记者俱乐部举办周五“Taco Night”活动

  • Social activities

Opening “Texas barbecue” cookout hosted by Professor Rick Dunham in Arlington, Virginia

Friday “Taco Night” reception at the National Press Club

Special event with National Press Club Young Members

Happy Hour with Asian American Journalists Association DC Chapter members

  • 师资力量:
  • Possible guest speakers:

Rick Dunham:清华大学全球财经新闻联合主任、美国记者俱乐部培训学院院长、《商业周刊》原驻白宫记者

Alex Nowrasteh: 美国卡托研究所经济学家

Al Weaver:《华盛顿审察者报》驻白宫记者

Cheryl Arvidson:前《达拉斯时代先驱报》总编辑

Cragg Hines:前《休斯顿纪事报》华盛顿分社总编辑、专栏作家

Emily Holden:E&E新闻机构记者

Doris Truong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Doug Wong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Gilbert Klein:美国大学新闻教授、前美国记者俱乐部主席

Doug Harbrecht:Kiplinger.com数字媒体总监

Angela Greiling Keane:《政客》编辑

Alan Bjerga:彭博新闻社农业报道记者、乔治城大学新闻教授

Jonathan Salant: 北新泽西州报纸驻华盛顿记者

Maria Recio: Washington journalist and former correspondent for Business Week, Knight Ridder Newspapers and McClatchy Newspapers

Mark Hamrick: Bankrate.com Washington bureau chief and former National Press Club president

Emily Wilkins: Education reporter, Roll Call

 

  • 费用:

项目费:1500美元

住宿费:600-750美元(由项目方提供统一住宿)

  • Estimated costs:

Fees   $1,500*

Housing (estimated, double occupancy)  $600-$750

Note: Global Business Journalism students and other Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students are eligible for a scholarship to cover $500 of the costs, making their final fee $1,000.

Note: GBJ and other TSJC students who also enroll in the City University of New York Summer Intensive program are eligible for a scholarship to cover $750 of their costs, making their final fee $750.

Note: Visa fee, transportation, travel, meals, insurance are not included.

Note: Housing will be available from Sunday, July 23, to Saturday, August 5.

A completed application does not guarantee acceptance. To guarantee personal attention, the program will have a maximum of 25 participants. Admission is at the discretion of program organizers.

>>> Application form for the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

>>> Questions? Contact the USA Summer Journalism Training Program by email

>>> More information on CUNY Summer Intensive program

>>> Learn more about the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University

 


Application for the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

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Thank you for your interest in the USA Summer Journalism Training Program, organized by Rick Dunham, a veteran of 29 years of Washington journalism experience and co-director of the International Center for Journalists’ Global Business Journalism Program. The two-week program is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., from July 24 to August 4, 2017, and is open to university students and recent graduates from China and around the world.

The application form is included in this post. Please copy-and-paste the form and send it via email to the USA Summer Journalism Training Program at SummerProgramDC@gmail.com. You can reach teaching assistant Li Chengzhang at licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn.

  •  Application deadline: May 31

海外学习短期项目

美国新闻报道夏令营项目申请表

Application form

姓名 Name 国籍 Nationality
生源地 Birthplace
本/硕/博 Bachelor’s/Master’s/Ph.D. 出生年月 Date of birth
在读学校 University 专业 Major
联系电话 Phone number 邮箱 Email
是否定向/委培 外语水平(种类及成绩) English language certificate
拟毕业时间 When will you (did you) graduate from your university program?
申请理由:

Please explain the reason why you want to apply to this program:

注:请将报名表、个人简历、学生证、外语水平证书的电子版发送至助教邮箱。如有任何疑问,欢迎随时联系助教。邮箱:SummerProgramDC@gmail.com or licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn 电话:+86 13426000951 或 +1(312)468-3257

Note: Please send your application form, CV, English language certificate copy and a photo of your student ID card to SummerProgramDC@gmail.com. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Teaching Assistant Li Chengzhang at licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn. By telephone: +86 13426000951, +1 (312) 468-3257.

  • 费用:

项目费:1500美元

住宿费:600-750美元(由项目方提供统一住宿)

  • Estimated costs:

Fees   $1,500*

Housing (estimated, double occupancy)  $600-$750

Note: Global Business Journalism students and Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students are eligible for a scholarship to cover $500 of the costs, making their final fee $1,000.

Note: GBJ and TSJC students who also enroll in the City University of New York Summer Intensive program are eligible for a scholarship to cover $750 of their costs, making their final fee $750.

Note: Visa fee, transportation, travel, meals, insurance are not included.

Note: Housing will be available from Sunday, July 23, to Saturday, August 5.

A completed application does not guarantee acceptance. To guarantee personal attention, the program will have a maximum of 25 participants. Admission is at the discretion of program organizers.

>>> More information on the Global Business Journalism Program

>> More information on the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

>>> Questions? Contact the USA Summer Journalism Training Program by email

>>> More information on CUNY Summer Intensive program


A Pulitzer-winning couple tells GBJ students what it’s like to cover a mass shooting in real time

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Mark Potts speaks about the L.A. Times’ video editing process for coverage of the San Bernardino shootings at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication. (Photo by Alexis See Tho)

By Alexis See Tho

“It was an organized chaos,” recalled Mark Potts, a video editor at the Los Angeles Times, describing the scene in the newsroom when photographs, videos and Twitter posts poured in from the San Bernardino shootings two years ago.

Potts and his wife Hailey Branson-Potts, who is also a journalist for the L.A. Times shared the drama of covering a breaking news story of global significance with Tsinghua University’s multimedia reporting class. Branson-Potts and Potts were part of the Times team that received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, the top award in American journalism, for breaking news reporting.

“In the back of your head, you’re thinking, this is what I went to school for. You train and work your whole life so when you get into these situations, you don’t mess it up,” Potts added.

The prize-winning young journalists spoke to Global Business Journalism Program students in Professor Rick Dunham’s Multimedia Business Reporting course on March 1. Branson-Potts worked for Professor Dunham as an intern in the Washington bureau of the Houston Chronicle, where she covered the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, among other national stories.

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Professor Dunham uses the coverage of the San Bernardino shootings as a “best practices” case study for using social media in reporting. (Photo by Alexis See Tho)

The December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, California, made international headlines when 14 people were killed an American man and his Pakistan-born wife. U.S. President Donald Trump has cited the shooting as a reason why he is seeking to restrict immigration to the United States.

Branson-Potts did live reporting on Twitter from the shooting scene, talking to the police and interviewing victims’ family members. And for days she stayed put in San Bernardino to get more information on the ground. It’s important to always be ready for moments like that she said.

“I have a ‘go-bag’ in my car,” Branson-Potts added, where she keeps a pair of jeans, comfortable shoes, make-up and supplies for at least a day.

But there are some areas that cannot be prepared ahead of time and only real-life experiences can be the teacher. Branson-Potts was answering a student’s questions whether news organizations train journalists on how to face situations such as the shooting.

“There’s no psychological training in newsrooms,” said Branson-Potts, who have worked and interned at news organizations such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and the
Houston Chronicle.

20170301_potts-tsinghuagbj3

Hailey Branson-Potts explains to the class her first few live tweets from the scene of the San Bernardino shootings. (Photo by Alexis See Tho)

She added that although her editor did ask how she was coping when she was on the ground in San Bernardino for days, the answer would always be “I’m fine.”

“You don’t want to be pulled out of the story,” Branson-Potts said.

Although she has worked for big names in America’s newspaper industry, Branson-Potts’ first taste of the world of journalism came when she was 15 when she worked on the printing press for her hometown newspaper, the Perry Daily Journal, one of Oklahoma’s smallest daily newspapers.

“They only printed 2,000 copies everyday, but it was real experience (for me),” Branson-Potts said. She advised students to find as many opportunities as they could to work in newsrooms.

“When we hire young people at our paper, we don’t care what grades they made at school, we don’t care what classes they took. We care about their resumés and the stories they produced as an intern,” she said.

For shooting and editing videos, Mark Potts’ greatest education came from watching bad movies during his student days while working at a movie theatre.

He added that a journalist’s work attitude is of utmost importance. “I approach things like there’s nothing below me,” he said, “I’ve done videos for subjects that secretly…I don’t want to cover. But I go in there and say, ‘I’m going to make a really good video. I’m going to cover this like I’ve covered the inauguration and a protest.’”

For both of them, they repeat the mantra: There’s no story that you’re too good for.

20170301_potts-tsinghuagbj4

The Hailey and Mark Show (Photo by Alexis See Tho)


Major shifts in U.S. trade policy make it vitally important to study global business and China’s role in it

Rickgrad6

Some of the top international students from the 2016 graduating class.

The global economic order is rapidly changing, and China, with the world’s second-largest economy, is becoming an increasingly important player. As U.S. international and trade policies shift dramatically under a new administration, China is aggressively seeking to bolster its leadership role in the world’s interconnected global economy on trade and other business issues.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in business journalism, now is a great time to study global business in China in the Global Business Journalism Master’s Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. (Of course, your blog author has a personal stake in this program: I’m co-director.) The extended deadline to apply for admission to the GBJ program is March 20, 2017.

Tsinghua University is the most prestigious university in China, providing a genuine international environment to students from around the world. The Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua, founded in 2007, has won international acclaim for teaching global best practices in business journalism and the technical skills needed to succeed in today’s digital news environment.

The program, a partnership between Tsinghua, the International Center for Journalists and Bloomberg News, trains future journalists who can help the public understand the complexities of global business and the economy. Students in the program benefit from a faculty that includes award-winning journalists from prominent media organizations such as Bloomberg News, the National Press Club of Washington and Business Week, as well as renowned Chinese scholars with degrees from prestigious international institutions.

The two-year program is fully taught in English. Enrollment in the courses is about half international, half Chinese. The program provides internship opportunities at major media organizations and offers summer reporting programs in New York and Washington.

Scholarships are available to top applicants. The deadline to apply for scholarships, as well as admission, is February 28.

Graduates of the intensive program emerge with a network of valuable connections that can enrich their careers. You can contact GBJ or ICFJ with any questions.

To share the mini-documentary on GBJ, send your friends this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ6kr_rUeI8&feature=youtu.be

To apply, please visit the application site:
http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/jcgbj/370/index.html

For more of the program, please visit the program’s official website:
http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/jcgbj/index.html

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2016 GBJ grads Jordyn Dahl and Jade Ladal

Contact at Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication:
Ms. Ma Chengcheng (Sarah)
The GBJ Office
Room 302, Omnicom Building,
School of Journalism and Communication
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, P. R. China
Tel: +86 10 6279 6842
Fax: +86 10 6277 1410
E-mail: tsjcws@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn


Video: Why the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua is a great choice for graduate school

The Global Business Journalism Program is the subject of a documentary film that highlights the program’s unique role in teaching advanced economics reporting skills to Chinese and international graduate students.

The GBJ program, the first graduate business journalism program taught in English on the Chinese mainland, features a rigorous curriculum taught by leading Chinese academics and prominent international journalists.

The five-minute mini-documentary was produced and directed by second-year GBJ student Simone Martin of Italy. It was based on a project he completed for a documentary news course. First-year GBJ student Sarah Taylor Talaat of the United States was the film’s narrator.

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2016 GBJ grads Anish Pandey and Jade Ladal

“In its first decade, the GBJ program has been recognized as one of the top international programs in China — and now, students from around the world, together with Chinese students, are learning advanced business writing, corporate strategies, economics, accounting, data mining, multimedia storytelling and other skills,” Talaat says in the documentary.

The film features interviews with current students and GBJ faculty. GBJ student Tendekai Finos from Zimbabwe called the program “an interesting opportunity to learn in China, as well to study in China, where the economy is growing rapidly.” Viktoria Fricova, a second-year student from Slovakia, said she first discovered the program when searching for a high-quality international graduate journalism program. “When I found it on the internet, I knew this was the option for me,” she told the documentarian.

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Professor Dunham and GBJ grads celebrate, June 2016

The Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication will use the documentary to reach out to potential students internationally, to further enhance its reputation in China, and to attract partners and supporters to the program, said GBJ Co-Director Rick Dunham.

“We’d like continue to expand, so that we can be the leaders in training Chinese journalists of the next generation, and become a destination spot for global journalism,” Professor Dunham says in the film.

Launched in 2007 in partnership with the International Center for Journalists and Bloomberg News, the GBJ program has trained more than 400 graduates, many of whom have become journalists at prominent news outlets from Bloomberg to People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency.

“We wish to welcome the world to join us,” GBJ Co-Director Dr. Hang Min says in the documentary. “We are setting the standard for business journalism education.”

>>> You can also watch the video on YouTube

>> For more information on the application process

>>> Here’s the GBJ website

>>> Here’s how you can begin the application process

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2016 graduation festivities


Global Business Journalism Program: Leading the next generation of journalism around the world

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It has been a honor to serve as international co-director of the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University for the past three years. Here is a transcript of my remarks at the 2016 commencement on June 30:

This is a very special day for all of us. To you, the graduating class of 2016, it is the culmination of a multicultural, global experience that is certain to benefit you personally and professionally. For me, this day is very special, too.

This is the first group of Chinese students I taught at Tsinghua, and you have made this veteran journalist into a better professor and a better person. Jiao Jie, Cynthia, Jarchine. I could go on and on. I have such respect and affection for you. I am so proud of all of you.

This is the first group of international students I interviewed, taught and mentored from beginning to end. Jade: you may not remember it, but I recall asking you in your interview: Who was your favorite character from En Attendant Godot? (I bet you didn’t prepare for that question.)

From the beginning, I can remember being supremely impressed by the qualifications and enthusiasm of Lauren and Gaelle, who have been leaders and high achievers since the day they arrived.

And I can remember recruiting Jordyn as if she were a star athlete in the United States and I were an eager coach. I knew she would be an invaluable addition to our program. Even while she’s still in school, she’s published superb articles in Forbes and Beijing Review, respected global news outlets.

I am honored, on behalf of the faculty of the Global Business Journalism Program and the International Center for Journalists, to congratulate all of you on your successful completion of graduate studies at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication.

You are entering an uncertain world of journalism … of business and economics … of geopolitics and global conflict. I guess any commencement speaker could have said that at any time. But the pace of technological change, the immediacy brought by social media and 24/7 news, and the interconnectedness of the world, have made it easier for human beings to create positive things — or sow destruction anywhere, anytime.

The disruption created by the digital communications revolution has affected businesses from Dallas to Da Tong. In our world of journalism and communication, traditional forms of communication are collapsing – rapidly in America and Europe, more slowly in China. But make no mistake about it, the old world is gone and will never be revived, despite the antediluvian longings of ultranationalists and isolationists and technophobes.

The good news is that there are so many opportunities for people who embrace change and embrace the latest technologies. You are among the fortunate few. You have been trained in the latest technologies, but you also understand the enduring basics of journalism: accuracy, fairness, accountability, ethics and compelling storytelling. The Global Business Journalism program is a combination of a rigorous academic education taught by some of the finest professors in China, and a real-world journalism newsroom where students learn from distinguished journalists from around the world and create professional multimedia projects and data journalism reports.

With the skills you have learned, and the intelligence and drive you bring to your work, I have no doubt some of you are going to be journalism industry leaders and innovators, in China and around the world.

The Global Business Journalism Program is about to begin its tenth academic year this fall. In its first decade — with the support of Bloomberg News, ICFJ, the Knight Foundation and Merrill Lynch/Bank of America — it has brought together students from about 60 countries to experience a diversity of cultures and ideas.

The GBJ program has been indispensable in creating a new generation of business journalists who are reshaping and improving journalism in China. Not only does Chinese journalism benefit from our superbly trained alumni, but international journalism benefits because the next generation of reporters from Cameroon to California have a more accurate and sophisticated view of the Chinese economy and its role in global growth – and an understanding of the highest standards in global reporting.

What’s more, GBJ has created de facto goodwill ambassadors for China in dozens of countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. It could not come at a more important time.

The journalism industry is facing an era of limits. In the United States and Europe, those limits are mostly economic: the profit imperative at a time of declining revenues, the mistaken choice of click bait journalism over quality. In China, those limits are mostly political.

But neither the journalism establishments of China nor the rest of the world can afford to be reactive. Traditional news outlets, whether in Beijing or Great Britain, are at risk of losing the next generation of information consumers to social media or alternative sources of information. We must – and we will –adapt, to create innovative new ways to share news.

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Barrows Dunham, 1947

I would like to close by quoting from my favorite philosopher, who happens to be my grandfather, Barrows Dunham. Seventy years ago, as the world emerged from the destruction wrought by fascists, he wrote in his book Man Against Myth that the peoples of our planet faced “ambiguous gloom, which may perhaps be twilight and may perhaps be dawn.”

Sounds like today. Looking at the pace of change, he wrote in 1947:

“In our day, indeed, events have attained so formidable a tempo that a single lifetime … will seem to contain more than there once appeared to be in history itself.”

Sounds like today.

Every generation sees an unprecedented pace of social change. That is the reality of human accomplishment, and human nature. There are always those who see the dawn and those who see the sunset. In the dawn of our new era, many in our chosen line of work will resist the changes that are needed.

This challenge reminds me of the Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones – specifically, the reaction of the receptionist at the Citadel, who, in response to a message delivered by Samwell Tarly, told our hero: “This is highly irregular.”

“Well,” Samwell responded, “I suppose that life is irregular.”

Indeed, life is irregular. But we can’t respond to occasional irregularities by retreating or taking the safe path. We must pursue the ambitious vision we learned in GBJ.

As all of you know, I am an optimist. I choose to see the dawn. I don’t fear the future, and you should not, either. You are uniquely prepared to be the change – to lead the change – as we approach the third decade of the 21st century.

To quote Dr. Dunham one last time: “Even now, we ourselves are determining the future, not by knowing what it will be, but by conceiving what it can be.”

Congratulations to the GBJ graduating class. Good luck to all of you. Thank you.