We sometimes get asked if the Columbia Missourian has a mission statement. The answer is yes ... sort of.
While the following principles might not read like a corporate mission statement, they do reflect our values. They were written by executive editor Tom Warhover based on the collective wisdom of our staff of editors in 2007, and they continue to guide our decisions. (In fact, we sometimes admit surprise at how well they've stood up in a time of such transition.)
The Missourian is in the process of transforming itself — continually
Its goal is to create a gathering place for the people of mid-Missouri to share information, ideas and opinions. The Missourian advocates a healthier democracy and believes it can add to the American experiment in ways that were impossible a generation ago.
The Missourian will be a digital-first publication. The print product will continue, in ways still to be created, for decades to come.
But the new digital tools of our age allow for a completely new model for us to express our journalism. Digital is the language of the future, and the Missourian’s mission is to prepare tomorrow’s leaders in journalism.
Today’s hardware and software are tools. That’s why Missourian editors believe it’s important to look beyond the technology to express the possibilities for journalism.
We believe we can best serve citizens and our profession by relentless execution of four strategies. They are:
- Immediacy: We will report and deliver news as it happens. We will not fear to report a story as it develops while always striving to verify information. We will be willing to tell our readers-viewers-listeners what we don’t know as well as what we do.
- Enterprise: We will find stories that provide meaning and context, that hold public officials and the public accountable, and that entertain and enlighten. We will use all the story-telling techniques available to tell stories that engage readers-listeners-viewers.
- Community knowledge: We will analyze, aggregate or create information that helps citizens tell their own stories. We will create methods to let citizens build community knowledge.
- Conversation: We will foster better talk in mid-Missouri by joining existing streams in person and online. We will spark new dialogues from our reporting and through sharing the experience of one community with another. We will empower citizens to report the news that is important TO them, not just the news we feel is important FOR them.
This is a definition, an experiment, in progress. It will evolve. Students and staff of the Missourian will, through collaboration and experimentation, give new meaning and new life to each of the four strategies.