Fifty eager journalism students sit in a sterile room facing front.
As we enter the classroom, Marcie, a faculty advisor, and I find our seats at the front of the room and await the professor’s instructions. Without warning, he pulls two chairs to the front of the room facing the students, motioning for us to take a seat.
Within seconds, we’ve assumed the position of a panel taking questions and presenting our take on the state of journalism and misinformation in the digital age.
As we discuss ideology informed news reporting with a growing culture of misinformation, it doesn’t take long to realize that journalism and communication students around the globe are experiencing the same things: confusion and distrust.
Despite credible news sources like the New York Times, BBC or Times of India, students in this spacious classroom in suburban Pune, echo what I, as a journalism student, have thought and heard for the last year.
Students discuss the almost insurmountable hurdle of avoiding a culture of ideology driven reporting in an increasingly polarized world.
One student proclaimed something to the effect of “leftist (liberal) news outlets make it more and more difficult for conservative opinions to be heard.” A consumer of Fox News, he felt the current political culture among news organizations was an indication of an industry that no longer values objectivity.
Alternatively, another student retorted by suggesting that polarization wasn’t the product of specific news outlets and their political leanings, but a result of media literacy (or a lack thereof) and the fact that the digital age lends itself to confusion when it comes to the credibility of sources.
While these opinions are both valid, what stands out beyond any disagreements is the fact that these students care enough to discuss and examine the state of news media. Moreover, they are keenly aware that they will one day take part in a craft that is responsible for informing the public.
Additionally, they seem to have a strong desire to contribute in a way that’s ethical, even with differing perspectives.
This one conversation made it clear that the future of journalism around the globe is still intact and raring to bring young, principled journalists into the industry. These students like many of those I sit next to in Salt Lake Community College classrooms, show themselves to be the kind who take the time to consider how they might affect the people they serve.