A Journalism Panel at RIC Goes from Left to Lefter


A small note on a brief Providence Journal article about a panel discussion on journalism in the Trump Era, hosted by Rhode Island College.  Reporter Mark Reynolds conveys some of the comments from the panelists, but the key detail, for my money, is the list of panelists:

Jill Agostino is Deputy Editor, Special Sections of the New York Times.

Jennifer Bendery is a Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost.

Josh Israel has been the Senior Investigative Reporter for ThinkProgress since 2012.

Ron Nixon is The New York Times’s Homeland Security Correspondent.

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for the Washington Post and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for her coverage of Russian Interference.

Paul Singer became Investigations Editor at WGBH in Boston and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting in March 2018.

In other words, the panel ran the gamut from… err… Left to Far Left.  Shouldn’t a college — especially a publicly funded college — make some effort to appear balanced?  I mean, apart from wanting to offer students a thorough education and a lesson in weighing different perspectives, that is.  A conservative journalist would have brought something completely different to the gathering, perhaps something surprising.

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Some local color might have been helpful, too.  Local reporters across the spectrum might have had something to say about the increased difficulty of getting information from government agencies during the Raimondo Era.  When she came into office, the door closed quite a bit on our ability to get information directly from government employees without going through one of the many public relations specialists.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    ” especially a publicly funded college”, you may have hit it there. I wonder what result if it was sponsored by, perhaps, Idaho State.

  • #AmericaFirst

    they can’t help but double down on stupid their corrupt world is burning down around them with every IG report. 50K indictments in every state. The funding they received is drying up because they all lied to get it.

    • Rhett Hardwick


  • Joe Smith

    Well, perhaps you can fault the college for the topic meaning- “In the Trump Era” seemed to be about covering national level (really Presidential) news given Trump’s methods of governing as opposed to general transparency at various levels in a heightened interest in the role of the press.

    I would thus question having the WGBH member (really how much can they expect to have insight on a daily basis on the White House) and a person associated with a ideological think tank.

    It would have been useful to have say the Washington Times or WSJ reporter just to see if a more “right” paper felt in the Obama years the way those (NYT, WaPo) reporters were whining about now.

    Why we would expect *any* effort for balance/conservative perspective from RI public colleges given the governance structure? The most recent wave of Higher Ed board appointees are all well to do associates of the Governor and only the Chafee appointees went to an undergraduate public college.

    • Merle The Monster

      The very short article provided a sampling of decidedly non partisan issues of the work that journalists covering a President that has chosen or is unable to resist operating outside the previously established way White House communications were conducted. The panelists were being ask to discuss the way their work has changed. This may be somewhat relevant to journalism students, don’t you think?

      • Rhett Hardwick

        “a President that has chosen or is unable to resist operating outside the previously established way White House communications were conducted.”

        What is so unusual about that. Couldn’t the same be said about Cal Coolidge and radio, or the sainted Mr. Roosevelt and television?

        • Merle The Monster

          I don’t think it is just about the medium. Print journalists were probably not that happy about Presidents using radio to speak more directly to people in their homes than to having to answer their questions . I associate JFK with television more so than with FDR but I think there was still more of a predictable way the various administrations in recent history delivered White House statements to the press. There have been multiple instances that this President’s spoken words or those on Twitter have have either undercut or were the opposite of the message his administration was trying to make at the same time. Journalists trying to make sense of this administration and its message that is often a very fluid situation would naturally need to change the nuts and bolts way they are forced to do theirs.
          Partisanship seems to obsess Katz and he displayed his in his post but the rest of us don’t need to follow his lead.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            I think you are correct that JFK made more use of television. I mentioned FDR because he was first with television, although he was probably better known for his “Fireside Chats” on radio. One should not confuse Trump’s twitter comments, which are written thoughts, with speeches.

          • Merle The Monster

            You referenced President Coolridge’s use of radio. Silent Cal as he was called wasn’t silent when it came delivering his speeches over radio. He wasn’t the first President to be heard by radio listeners but the first to use it through his term of office. It’s said that he attempted to lose his Yankee accent as he was speaking to the entire country

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Ah yes, Silent Cal. One of my Presidential favorites. A woman is said to have challenged him with “I’ve bet I can get more than three words out of you”. His response? “You lose”. There are still schools in Atlanta to aid radio and tv aspirants in losing their Southern accents. Television has been a great leveling factor, my Southern relatives have, mostly, lost their accents. One seldom hears “Y’all come back! Hear?”