Writing the Next Chapter

Rebuilding a journalistic identity*

Aaron Jacklin
13 min readDec 29, 2023
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

I’m not one of those journalists.

Maybe you know the ones.

They’ve won prestigious awards or have a string of big-name outlets they’ve published in or teach journalism at a prestigious university or spent a decade covering crime or science.

The ones I envy.

I used to think I’d be one of them someday.

It wasn’t the prestige I wanted, though, let’s face it, that’d be nice.

I had originally wanted to do criminology and criminal justice research that would be used to prevent suffering due to crime. I came to believe I could do more good as a journalist, bringing the research of others to the world with my reporting.

Journalism, as embodied in The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, appealed to the young idealist I was and captured my imagination: journalism’s first obligation being the truth, its first loyalty being citizens, its being a discipline of verification… All of it.

What I wanted was to do good journalism that would facilitate change and development in criminal justice policy. I figured that those markers I mentioned above — the awards, the publishing credentials, the teaching gigs, the experience — would…



Aaron Jacklin

Creating quality, ethical nonfiction crime content. Criminology Journalist & Writing Coach.