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Student journalists at KSU hear what to do to battle stereotypes

By ANDREW BUGEL | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published: February 15, 2017 1:00 AM
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KENT -- President Donald Trump has concluded his first few weeks in office and with it comes a sense of heightened tension between him and the media.

With Trump's negative depiction of the media and talk of "alternative facts" and "fake news," journalists are facing a challenge of doing their jobs while so much negativity is being aimed their way.

Kent State University discussed what professional and student journalists can do to fight the stereotypes being directed toward them.

A panel discussion -- "Journalism's Way Forward" -- took place recently at Franklin Hall in front of a packed audience of faculty, students and the public.

The discussion was moderated by WKYC's Russ Mitchell and featured three KSU professors -- Jacquie Marino, Chance York and Cheryl Ann Lambert. Connie Schultz, a JMC professional-in-residence, Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist, was also on the panel.

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Cleveland.com's political reporter Henry Gomez rounded out the group. The panel talked of ways to move forward for about an hour and took student questions afterwards.

York expressed his confusion as to why Trump feels the need to "be at war" with the media.

"I don't understand why Mr. Trump is so upset with the media," York said. "When you look at the numbers, they were very helpful to him. CNN gave him around-the-clock coverage.

"I don't know why there is a war going on. People need to remain educated. It helps to have parents watch and discuss the news with their children."

Schultz discussed the fact that journalists have an obligation to tell the truth, especially now.

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"The American public is feeling lied to and they would appreciate it if we say that," Schultz said. "We have to call out lies, but we have to do so much more than just yell out 'liar, liar, liar!" Schultz said.

Marino expressed her excitement that student journalists and the national media have stood their ground against Trump and his administration so far.

"We're not comfortable," Marino said. "We're pushing. Students aren't backing down. They are pushing in. There's this sense of fearlessness and it's awesome.

"The New York Times and other media outlets have stepped up their coverage. I'm optimistic we are going to see some incredible journalism moving forward."

Gomez touched on key aspects of reporting and making sure that not everything that is read online is accurate news.

"People throw up the wall and we need to run right through them," Gomez said. "We need to be careful of what we see on the internet and what we report. Twitter is dangerous. Twitter contributes to some of the problems in political journalism right now.

"Just because we see a story on the internet, that doesn't mean it's always an accurate one."

Mitchell ended the discussion by reminding the student-journalists that while it is important to do their jobs, it's also important to make sure they are enjoying themselves.

"Be careful, be curious and be engaged," Mitchell said. "But at the end of the day, have fun."

Email: abugel@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4155


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