I first entered the world of full-time media in 2005, and in the words of my co-worker’s darling 2-year-old - “what...happened?”

My life has taken a lot of twists and turns that have brought me here. The after-high-school plan was college at what was then Kearney State where I declared journalism as my major. I have always loved to write, and I’m nosy, so it seemed like a perfect choice! Then life happened.

Many years and several jobs later I was given an opportunity by the grace of God to fulfill my dream of being a journalist. Not having a degree or education in that field meant I had to learn the ropes the old-fashioned way, by trial and error. Luckily I had the benefit of wonderful mentors along the way who encouraged me and taught me the ins and outs of being a reporter.

One of the first things I had drilled into me was this - your opinion is your opinion. It does not belong in the news...ever! That is why we have editorial pages. As a journalist I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment; we all have opinions and the right to express them freely without fear of retribution. However, my opinion should never be mixed with my reporting. It’s journalism 101. Or at least, it used to be.

It saddens me to see where mainstream journalism has gone in this country. Accusatory terminology for certain segments of our society has become far too commonplace and accepted. Reporters sharing their own ideals and beliefs - not in commentaries but in actual news pieces - has somehow become ok. That baffles me.

Those who know me will tell you I have no problem sharing my opinion. I have some pretty strong thoughts on things and am generally happy to engage in a conversational exchange of ideas. But you will not see my personal opinions in my reporting - and if by chance that should happen to eek out in a story I would ask you as our readers to call me out on it.

You see, I believe that a large part of the blame for much of what we are seeing all around us today is simply lack of accountability. Somehow we have gotten to a place where it is viewed as wrong or judgmental to hold each other to a certain standard. It’s not. We must teach our children to be responsible with their words and behaviors, and sadly there are a whole lot of adults who need to learn that as well.

I am so very grateful for those who have invested time in me. I love what I do. We serve an awesome God, are blessed beyond measure, and get to live in the greatest nation on Earth. And that folks, is my opinion.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498