Journalists must strive to get facts, say faculty, editor

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Media face uphill battle in covering new administration as Trump continues to butt heads with reporters.

By Elena Longoria

In a political climate where the president and his top adviser have called the media “the opposition party,” journalists must push even harder for accurate information, said The Ranger’s editor and a journalism faculty member at this college.

Since the beginning of the campaign and elections, President Donald J. Trump and the media have seemed to be at odds.

Trump often refuses to answer reporters’ questions. At times, he even kicks them out.

On Aug. 26, 2015, during a press conference in Iowa, Univision reporter Jorge Ramos stood up without being called and asked a question about the deportation of illegal immigrants.

Trump asked Ramos to take a seat and wait to be called, but Ramos continued to ask his question. Trump repeatedly told Ramos, “You have not been called.” After asking him to take a seat multiple times, Trump’s security team escorted Ramos out of the conference.

Journalism Instructor Irene Abrego recommends reporters and journalists remember what their story is about and not let anything distract them from getting accurate information.

It is important to make sure all questions get answered, she said.

“Reporters don’t support each other. If you see the question that another reporter asked is not being answered, ask it yourself,” Abrego said.

Sometimes the source will do everything to not answer a reporter’s questions.

“Don’t get distracted by a source’s dodging tactics,” Abrego said.

Early Monday Trump said the media were not reporting on terrorist attacks, and the White House later released a list of 78 terror attacks that the administration said did not get covered, according to CNN.

Many news outlets, including The New York Times, responded with evidence of their coverage of those attacks.

Trump also has posted remarks about the media on Twitter.

“The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!” he wrote in a Feb. 6 tweet.

Trump also seemed to mock a journalist with disabilities during his campaign.

New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski wrote an article for The Washington Post that mentioned Trump’s allegations that people in New Jersey, specifically Muslims, were cheering when the Twin Towers came down Sept. 11, 2001.

In a campaign rally, Trump mentioned the article and imitated Kovaleski’s voice and hand gestures that are caused by a chronic condition that affects his arm movements. To many people who watched, it came off as mocking and disrespectful.

Such events and headlines have affected the relationship between Trump and the media.

Ranger Editor Zachary-Taylor Wright says if a reporter does not have a good relationship with the source, it becomes harder for the reporter to do his job and to provide positive and accurate information.

Wright recommends that reporters inform themselves before interviewing someone.

“If you fully understand the issue then you can ask specific enough questions that they have no workaround, “Wright said.

College students who aspire to be journalists must prepare to deal with getting ignored or getting a non-answer from a source.

“(Sources) either have to say ‘I don’t want to answer that question,’ which then you can quote them on it and that makes them look a certain way — like they are not being transparent to the public — or they will have to answer the question,” Wright said.


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