A journalist’s most important tool is critical thinking. I grew up in a communist country, Romania, where questions were rarely asked. Free speech wasn’t allowed. Creativity wasn’t appreciated. I had to memorize by heart the lessons for the day when I knew I would have to be graded.
Since the Romanian Revolution from 1989 things have changed. SLOWLY. There is free speech (more or less), the media are free (more or less, like everywhere else) and things got better (again, more or less). However, the mentality, the critical thinking hasn’t changed that much. In the education system, in media people start to put questions now, but the people still don’t question the authorities because they have never been taught to do so before.
That’s why I still have difficulties to raise questions. That's why it comes to me hard to question the facts in the news media. It’s good to know theories, but it’s difficult to apply them when your mentality still hinders you.
I guess besides mastering English at journalistic level, critical thinking is going to be a lifetime learning process for me. One less thing to worry about for an American journalist (and not only).