Putting challenges in perspective: Difficult doesn't mean impossible

Mi-Ai Parrish shares the story of her Korean family roots and talks about how thankful she is to have her mom and aunts as her guiding lights

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Looking out at the room filled with newspaper executives from across the country gathered for the inaugural meeting of America's Newspapers, our keynote presenter on Monday told them, "I am inspired and I have a sense of hope."

Mi-Ai Parrish, who has served as president and publisher of The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network Arizona, as well as The Kansas City Star and The Idaho Statesman, talked about the family photo that she keeps on her desk as inspiration during difficult times and emphasized the importance of the work that newspapers do.

"We are here," she said, "because what we do matters. It's important because so much is at stake because there is no democracy without a free press."

She said she also tells her students at Arizona State University where she currently serves as the Sue Clark-Johnson Professor in Media Innovation and Leadership at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Media Communication, that there's "really no true democracy without a well-funded press."

"I love journalism," Parrish said, "and so do all of you. I love that we're watchdogs and storytellers. We're advocates, innovators. We're business strategists and community leaders. We're friends and neighbors, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. We help connect our readers to the world and to the communities we serve. We enrich and inform, delight and unite."

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