Kevin Loker on Journalism, Success, and Albus Dumbledore

From the moment a gif of Albus Dumbledore flashed up at the beginning of his presentation, I knew Kevin was going to give an exceptional opening-night speech. Not only is he young (he graduated from college in 2012) but he is also at a level of success that I can only dream of reaching by the time I’m his age. His speech was straight forward and right on target, focusing on “The Future of Journalism”. He talked about the keys of success (because there is more than one) and even went as far to define journalism (you’ll see a video on that later).

I took many notes but will only touch on a few…for now.

Journalism (n)

Actively engaging the world

Seeking to understand

Intending to share

You know you want to be a journalist when you want to share with others, when you feel so passionate about a certain subject that you just can’t keep the facts to yourself. The key, however, to being an exceptional journalist is to share with others…without gossiping. You must keep an open mind and must show empathy towards others. Journalists are not selfish. They are anything but selfish because they are sharing their knowledge with the world.

“Rough time to be a journalist, ain’t it?”

Kevin (I can call you “Kevin”, right? Okay.) made many good points in his speech about the evolution of journalism. You will often hear people (especially older ones, as he pointed out) saying things similar to the quote above. With the rise of social media and affordability and convenience of electronics, newspapers aren’t as in high of a demand as they used to be. But they’re still in demand, as Kevin pointed out. He also asked all 245 of us to raise our hands (individually) if we read the newspaper. To my surprise, over half of the hands in the hall shot up immediately. I watched as my peers proudly showed their choice of a newspaper, something that a lot of people my age would consider “old-fashioned”. All I could do was think to myself, “Damn, I need to stay more informed”.

So what if newspapers do die out eventually? We can store them in a history museum along-side the dinosaur fossils and Motorola Razor. Kevin made a point to say that social media is at its peak; it rises higher and higher every day. Journalism is at its best now, folks, especially since your average Jane, like me, can post whatevertheflipshewants online. Journalism has simply evolved. Still not able to picture the newspaper being replaced by the iPad Super-Ultra-Extra-Mini (to be released in 2020 by Apple)? Try this: everything evolves. I mean, look at us. We used to be dirty apes sticking our fingers up our butts and now we are sophisticated drunks lounging on the sofa without any pants. See the improvement? (HINT: I might have made a subtle reference to dirty journalism, there.)

“Daddy, what color is the son?”

“It’s yellow, Mia.”


Who. What. When. Where. Why. The five “W”‘s that you had drilled into your head in the fourth grade. Who is the story about? What is the story about? When is the story? Where is the story? But, whywhy, are you writing this story? Ask why. Ask it. Why is a very powerful word and is the reason behind many philosophers’ theories today. Use the word to investigate because, without why, you wouldn’t be able to tell the story.

How to: Succeed with Many Trials and Errors because this is the Real World, dang it

1. Get involved 

You can’t actually expect to succeed in something without trying. For example: some idiot tries out for basketball his freshman year but has really never played basketball before in his life. Okay, maybe “idiot” is a strong word to use in this scenario, but the previous example is a pretty stupid concept.

2. Don’t be afraid to step up

You want that job promotion? Don’t just sit around waiting for your boss to notice you doing all of those great things that, really, we both know he pays no attention to at all. Talk to him about it.

3. Build something

Kevin made a good point here. Just a build a freaking robot because everyone wants a robot.

4. Get creative

If you’re going to make a robot, make it cool. Like it’s okay if it can make my bed and stuff but it would be even better if it could blow the head off my neighbor’s loud dog.

5. Show up

And this is when I give you another example of the same basketball idiot. He didn’t show up for the two week training camp prior to the try-outs. Dumbass.

6. Show up online

Everyone is doing it. We’re online now. Get on social media and make some magic with those fingers.

But don’t forget—be just as present physically as you are digitally.

“Don’t be discouraged by your age, be encouraged.”


Don’t forget to follow this really cool guy on twitter: @kevinloker


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