Indy Journalists: ‘We Are Not The New York Times — We Take Sides’

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Commentary

Four esteemed voices in media joined PCIM on July 29 to discuss recent changes in journalism amid pandemic and protest. Moderated by PCIM Director Raza Rumi, the conversation invited valuable perspectives from each of the four panelists: The Independent’s chief U.S. correspondent Andrew Buncombe, Montclair State University assistant professor Dr. Tara L. Conley, The Nation editor D.D. Guttenplan, and newsroom editorial director Amanda Silverman of Mother Jones.

Watch the full webinar recording:

Guttenplan began the conversation with insights that echoed throughout the evening, including the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on The Nation’s operations. Given the rampant science denialism surrounding COVID-19 and global warming, he illustrated how science journalism has been diminished just as its importance has increased. He also explored journalists’ responsibility to protect individuals’ identities at protests against racial injustice.

Buncombe described how he was arrested in Seattle while covering a Black Lives Matter protest. He published a full account at The Independent, but further detailed in this webinar the immense privileges of being a white man with a press badge. He spoke too of journalists’ great responsibilities and of interviewing standoffish supporters at Trump rallies.

Contextualizing protests as a media scholar, Dr. Tara L. Conley affirmed the value of independent reporting, which often offers more comprehensive framing than mainstream news when covering communities of color. Conley noted that the moment of reckoning gripping the U.S. can lead to positive change if we preserve institutions that allow for self expression.

Amanda Silverman described the rapid pace the pandemic and nationwide protests demanded of the Mother Jones newsroom. At the small nonprofit outlet, it’s understood that every story can’t get equal coverage, so the past months have required diligent communication and delegation to decide on and publish the most meaningful pieces.

Watch the full webinar recording:

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