How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again

This is an important time to teach people what journalists do and why it matters. “The media” is much larger than “journalists devoted to the objective coverage of the news.”  If you don’t like the slant, or the shallowness, or the opportunism of the media you run across, then check out several different sources, including reputable ones with slants that differ from yours. (If nowhere on the planet can you find a source with a slant that differs from yours but that you still consider reputable, then maybe it’s not the media ecosystem of the human race that’s the problem.)

I regularly ask students who criticize “the media” to focus on specific examples. Often I can demonstrate that journalists who made particularly bad mistakes retracted their stories, or were disciplined, or even fired. In other cases, the student is complaining about an opinion being expressed in an editorial, and I can point out the difference between editorials and objective news coverage. Often the item they are responding to was not actually published by any credible news organization — it’s just some fringe group’s wild statement that found it’s way to their social media feed, perhaps with an angry comment complaining about “the media.” For example, I regularly see the meme claiming that Trump told People in 1998 that Republicans are dumb, but no journalist was involved in the creation or the spread of that story (which is completely false).

Headshot of U.S. President Donald J. TrumpI’m a journalism professor now, a member of a tribe that is finding it has to change what and how it teaches when it comes to training tomorrow’s journalists because of the hateful rhetoric the president and his base use towards the free press. And also that it needs to further reinforce the fundamental things that still apply. As they kick off the Fall 2018 semester, journalism professors are changing up everything from First Amendment discussions to reporter safety to how to properly address current events in class without falling down the Trump rabbit hole. —The Daily Beast

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