critical thinking? J-school students and industry vets tackle the tough questions.

Author:Gibbons, Sammy
 
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Q: "Many media critics said President Trump's first prime-time Oval Office address had a hidden campaign agenda and was not newsworthy, so should networks refuse to air future addresses?"

A At the newspaper I lead, the Daily Cardinal, our city editor has sat through eight-hour city council meetings where little happened. But, in those meetings, like with any major presidential address, we cannot predict what will happen.

Someone can have a wild outburst, or, less dramatically, information leading to bigger stories could be shared. Especially with the tumultuous Trump administration and fiery statements he drops at any moment, it is crucial for the public to have access to these unpredictable public addresses that concern their livelihood.

One "not newsworthy" address should not set a precedent for all other public addresses, as every moment government officials make decisions and every moment society shifts slightly. It is important, particularly with unpredictable government officials, that the public has the opportunity to follow along with happenings affecting our nation.

If not much is said during an address, viewers lost a few minutes of their day, but at least they had the option to watch what could be an important message, thanks to media outlets.

As journalists, it is our responsibility to ensure the public is aware of and has access to crucial information about our world, and key moments like presidential addresses should be available through our sources for viewers, even if the first one was seemingly a waste of time.

To not air a presidential address would deny the vast majority of Americans the knowledge to see firsthand how their country is operating, allowing only elites within the Oval Office to view these speeches.

While yes, some reporters will have access and regurgitate addresses into textual stories or video clips, details may be omitted to meet deadlines and word counts, and these addresses are meant for the entire country to learn every detail.

These days the public relays more and more on gaining information through 140 character tweets, but journalists must maintain the integrity of being sources people depend on to get the factual, full stories and deliver all the crucial information despite fear nothing exciting will occur.

Sammy Gibbons, 21

senior, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gibbons is studying journalism and creative writing and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Daily Cardinal. She plans to move to New...

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