Press Talk: Ask a kid about honesty

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, twitter.com/lounews or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

Honesty, for so many of us, is an elusive thing.

Oh, I'm sure when you look at all the journalists and all the newspapers in this country, you will find those who have not been honest. But the vast majority of us are honest for two basic reasons:

• It's the right thing to do.

• Credibility in this business is everything, so we strive to always be fair and honest. (Check our website now to see how many commenters are weighing in on this point!)

I was thinking about this after I received a call from the Junior Joy Team. It's a cool organization that promotes the concept that you create a better community by spreading joy, optimism and inspiration.

Michele Larsen heads the Junior Joy Team and she was looking for someone to speak to Hough Elementary pupils about … honesty.

Oh I'm sure there are other professions out there that could speak on this issue. But with big business being — well — big business and with politicians being — well — politicians, I received the call.

I actually enjoy speaking to students so I jumped at the chance.

I hopped over to Hough.

Before speaking I had an opportunity to observe virtually every child and teacher at the assembly. And I have to say, they looked like a very honest bunch. Equally important, the teachers seemed focused and the children seemed behaved and engaged. I was impressed.

My talk really wasn't very long. I spoke about how important it is for reporters to be honest. Readers rely on us to tell the truth. We take that very seriously.

I then noted that honesty really is the best policy. There have been studies done showing when you are honest you are more liked, more trusted and, frankly, you live a better life. That's a pretty good endorsement.

Shortly after my discussion a group of Hough students came by The Columbian to take a tour and deliver some joy packages to every employee here. How cool is that!

Included in the joy package was a handwritten note. Reporter Erik Hidle — who has taken more than his fair share of, ah, comments as he covers the county commission — received a card that said "Life is good."

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His response?

"This is awesome! This is like the best gift I've ever gotten."

As part of my discussion, the students were given an assignment to write what honesty meant to them. I'd like to end this column by using a few of those and by saying honesty is a pretty sweet deal. Try it. You might just like it.

"It is very important to be honest because you could lose the trust in someone." — Ivy Isch, 7 years old.

"Everybody should tell the truth because when you tell a lie you have to cover up and then you end up in a whole lot more trouble and don't blame stuff on others." — Elizabeth Johnson, 8 years old.

"If you're not honest and someone knows you can lose friends. And if you lie to your mom or dad it can make things worse." — Maddy Brown, 8 years old.

"I think it's important to be honest because you could get bad karma if you lie. You could get grounded." — Mason Rickard, 8 years old.


Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, lou.brancaccio@columbian.com or Twitter: http://twitter.com/lounews