Society of Professional Journalists & Smith College response

Smith College: 

There wasn’t much information given on this issue, only a quote from a professor and a student regarding the presence of journalists. The difference between the University of Missouri and Smith College though is that Smith is a private, women’s college. Because of this, they may be able to have stricter rules on what the media can sit in on and who they can interview. However, telling a journalist that they can only cover the event if they support the cause is not the way to go about it. You can either invite the media to take part in the protest and cover the story, or tell them all that they are not welcome there. You can not pick and choose journalists to cover the story; that makes the protesters look like they have something to hide.

Society of Professional Journalists:

Looking at the Smith College protest, had the journalists gained access to the event then they would have gone against the upholding of professional journalists. Journalists can not claim to support a side to gain information because that compromises their ability to remain unaffected by a story.

“Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

Do not use untraditional methods to gain information. As a journalist you should always use sources or information straight from the scene to incorporate into your story. If you can not explain where you received your information from, then you should not use that information.

“Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.”

Journalists can not give their opinions. They must report using others information or opinions but remain biased. They can not support one side of the issue over another.


3 thoughts on “Society of Professional Journalists & Smith College response

  1. I loved reading your response here, you made a lot of great points! It’s interesting that we’ve have so many situations like this with journalists in our country lately. Do you think schools need to do a better job of educating about The Constitution (specifically the First Amendment)? Should they educate more about journalism? Personally, I feel like students should be more educated about both of these topics.

    1. I think that as journalism students it is there responsibility to know how to handle themselves in situations like this. To me, it seems like this professor at the University of Missouri wanted it to look like this was an extremely important cause that would be ruined by the media because they would get the information wrong. I am not defending her at all, I am just speculating why she would make such a scene. I think that schools should, within the first year, educate students on how to go about situations like these as well as what the First Amendment has to do with their major of choice. Also, the professors are the role models in these situations. I a professor goes off on the media covering the event, the students may start to think that this is how you handle journalists that are not welcome to their event.

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