After Trump’s Upset, Is It Time to Rethink How Journalism Is Taught?

“It’s our duty to build trust with the public.”

By Maggie Rivas-RodriguezNovember 25, 2016 9:30 am, , ,

From KUT

The Election Day win of President-elect Donald Trump has left pollsters, journalists and many others looking for lessons learned. Among the men and women who prepare tomorrow’s journalists, there is also some soul-searching. Many are looking to recalibrate.

Understandably, journalism students were watching news coverage of the presidential election with great interest. Among them was UT journalism freshman Will Clark. It was, in some ways, a great master class in how journalists work. There were problems in polling, in the pervasive use of social media and in under-reported stories.

“We kind of grew up in an age where a lot of people distrusted the media,” Clark said. “As we go into being journalists, we’ll take that self-awareness with us and hopefully realize that the public doesn’t have to trust us immediately. It’s our duty to build trust with the public.”

Clark is right about that suspicion. The most recent Gallup poll shows Americans trust in the news media is at an all-time low.

Only a third of all Americans trust the media and some local college journalism educators are worried not only about that trend, but also about the growing reliance on social media.

At St. Edwards University, journalism coordinator Jena Heath will be reinforcing that her students broaden their world.

“For the last three or four years, I’ve taught about the filter bubble – the self-reinforcing world of social media,” Heath said.

Heath said it is possible that many news consumers – including journalists – get much of their news through channels that include only sources they agree with. That, she says, may lead to a false sense that the world conforms to a journalist’s own personal world view.

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