teaching college journalism in the trump era

inside logoFor the past two years, an increasing number of my university students have been asking me whether what they’re seeing transpire between White House officials and members of the national news media is, for lack of a better word, “normal.”

They often refer to the death threats journalists like White House reporter April Ryan has received after being singled out by the president for verbal attacks. They talk about how the commander-in-chief routinely labels news reporters as the “enemy of the people” (a phrase applied by dictators like Stalin, as NPR’s Scott Simon said “to vilify their opponents … who were often murdered.”). They are aghast that the president once joked about killing journalists and routinely calls those who practice journalism as “fake.” During the presidential campaign, a Trump supporter wore a T-shirt to a Trump campaign rally suggesting that journalists be lynched.

I wrote a piece for the Inside Higher Ed website exploring my struggles with teaching students how to be savvy news consumers when things like basic facts are under assault.

You can read the full piece here.

Image credit: Inside Higher Ed.

 

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essay: what to tell my students about journalism as it’s under assault

Screenshot 2018-03-19 12.30.28The nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism think tank, the Poynter Institute, recently ran a column I wrote in response to news that reporters covering the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida were being sabotaged online by people posing as journalists on social media with the intent of further eroding the public’s trust in the news media. Given that those charged with gathering news and rooting out the truth are already under assault from those at the very highest levels of the U.S. government, the opening of this new front in the war against the news media is an unwelcome development.

A salient excerpt:

We are in a world where journalists don’t just have to worry about double-checking the information and material they gather via social media. They now have to worry about their identities being stolen and their work actively thwarted by nameless, faceless actors, hell-bent on discrediting journalism and journalists in real time.

Read the entire column here.

Image credit: Poynter Institute.