Just as we elect representatives to work in government for us because we can't all be involved directly, we need individuals to watchdog those representatives on our behalf.
That's where the job starts for any journalist living in a democracy, but that's not where it ends.
Communities are united by the communication that they share. This means that a journalist needs to be inclusive not only in their reporting, but in their writing, too. Some journalists are abandoning the idea of non-biased reporting in favor of transparency about the biases they hold. I think it's important to be honest with yourself, and your readers, but if you proclaim your biases to boldly then you alienate those readers and sources who don't share your perspective.
Instead, I try to take the self awareness of the biases I have as an opportunity to hedge my writing against them. If I feel I'm biased toward one perspective, rather than telegraph that to a reader, I try to learn more about the other perspective, and include that in the article as well.
All of this is not to say I would publish falsehoods in order to seem "fair". The truth is more important than being fair, and the two are rarely one in the same. The truth is not subjective, but the reasons for people's actions often are. So I try to seek those motivations out, not to disprove them, but to explain them.
Of course, not every story requires the nose and tenacity of a bloodhound.
Communities need reasons to come together, too. Sympathetic stories about those in need can create a common cause. Stories of athletic triumph give reason to celebrate. Stories of personal achievement inspire the dreams of youth. There are many reasons to write as a journalist. The trick is knowing which one you're doing.
Once, I left my house thinking I would cover the local mayor's Labor Day river walk. When I got there, one of the local unions was staging a protest against the mayor. So it turned out I was covering a protest more than a riverwalk. It required a much greater level of scrutiny. I ended up doing a lot of legwork and making phone calls that I hadn't planned on making. It was important, so I made it work.
While I take my work seriously, I try not to take myself too seriously. I'm fallible. I've failed enough already that I know it's all about how you recover. Admit you made a mistake, learn from it, move on, be better.
When I'm not at work I enjoy a variety of hobbies; hiking and backpacking, video games, motorcycles, thrift shopping, reading, guitar, cooking and whatever else catches my interest at the moment. I'm not great at any of them, but I try, and I enjoy the effort.