Chicago journalists discuss media and political perspectives at Loyola forum
By Jason Rhein
Chameleon Staff Writer
Journalists from media outlets in the Chicago area participated in a forum on Tuesday, September 11, which was put on by Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication in Corboy Law Center, to discuss the objectiveness of the media during the 2012 presidential campaign and hot issues that the media is covering.
The forum, titled, Bridging the Great Divide: Partisan Politics, the Press and the Modern Presidential Campaign, was hosted by Phil Ponce, host of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and a professor of journalism at Loyola, and consisted of Tom Bevan, co-founder and executive editor of RealClearPolitics; Daniel Libit, political reporter for The Daily; Kristen McQueary, editorial board member for the Chicago Tribune; Salim Muwakkil, senior editor of In These Times and radio host for WVON-1690-AM; and Jim Warren, editor-at-large for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
The panelists discussed the role that the media plays in today’s politics, stating that many media outlets are progressive in society and often push toward one political party or another.
The form quickly shifted into a discussion about what the major political parties believe and how these views are put into place in major news outlets.
The majority of the participants expressed that a necessity for journalists today is checking the facts and making sure that everything is in proper context, otherwise readers or viewers will not trust their news sources.
“Our stories are grass on the field that news consumers graze. We [journalists] no longer control the news,” said Libit, expressing the importance of gaining the readers’ trust.
The debate at the forum heated up with discussions about the Tea Party and whether or not this party is racist. Muwakkil claimed that many of the Tea Party members are “white supremacists.”
The other panel members quickly shot this idea down, explaining that Tea Party members have actually diversified the Republican Party.
Muwakkil then expressed his beliefs about how the 2008 election has affected African-Americans, stating that there is great pride in having an African-American President. However, the opposition level and ambition of African-Americans has decreased because they are now in a position of power.
The forum ended with a brief question and answer session from the audience and advice from the professionals for journalism students at Loyola.
The panelists concluded that students should remain optimistic, contrarian, skeptic, cosmopolitan and curious in order to become successful in the always-changing field of journalism.
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