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

AuthorBaker, Kamrin

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Q Several news outlets have stopped covering President Trump's coronavirus t press conferences. Should the media continue to cover his pressers?

A The clear answer to this question is yes, the media should be covering these press conferences. The public has a right to know everything that comes out of the president's mouth--and ideally, hear it without his prior control or what has got to be numerous drafted tweets. In addition, the minute we allow those press conferences to become avoidable or optional is the minute this administration wins its war on journalism. However, the solution to this isn't so simple. Although it may seem like our political world is one side versus the other, there is a lot of gray area as we contemplate how to achieve higher trust in the Fourth Estate. As an industry and community of people hell-bent on protecting the First Amendment and its role in our democracy, we must stand up to the blatant lying and "alternative facts" of the Trump administration--without jeopardizing the information we provide the public.

What is the solution, then? I wish I had all the answers, but what I do know is that we could all be writing better editorials, reading journalism reviews (like the Gateway Journalism Review and Columbia Journalism Review), and sharing personal narratives from the front lines of reporting (Jim Acosta rocks at this). People need to see the value of journalism first-hand, and this won't happen if they see journalists as one homogenous clump of The Media or Fake News. It's okay to call out the president when he's wrong (which is often)--in fact, it's our job to put a truth filter over the world's rose-colored glasses. Or--more accurately--remove the filter, tint or mask put there in the first place.

Bias does not have a place in reporting news, but acceptance and transparency about inherent bias is, in fact, a way to inform readers and viewers. News consumers deserve to know their journalists, and journalists deserve to be known. Create trust by being human. Create trust by personally standing up to Trump--by making the importance of your job clear, by continuing to show up. Create trust by being the opposite of everything he says we are.

Kamrin Baker, 22

senior, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Baker is a recent graduate with a degree in journalism and media communications and a minor in women's and gender...

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