‘Provocation’ in Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo to be featured during Mass Communications Week 2015

Mass Communications Week of 2015 will feature various panel discussions and include community leaders, media and activists to speak on incidents that arose in Ferguson, Ukraine and France this past year.

Mass Communication Week 2015 starts today and ends Friday to provoke discussion on recent topics pertinent to the media. Image courtesy of Ibroscheva.

A panel discussion titled “Conflict Mediation and Community Building in the Time of Crisis” will address Ferguson. A second panel discussion on Ferguson will feature student photojournalist Christian Lee of the Alestle, SIUE’s student publication, to discuss what he captured of the city that drew national attention; Jim Forbes of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Whitney Curtis, an independent photojournalist. A discussion on Ukraine will feature SIUE professors Olga Bezhanova and Sophia Wilson. For the “Journalism in France & Provocation Charlie Hebdo” members of the French media will come to campus and speak on the events that transpired earlier this year in January.

According to mass communications professor Undrah Baasanjav the department designated this year’s theme “provocation” in hopes of capturing what is reflective while at the same time fleshing out new issues to be raised in regards to the media’s role in these events.

She added that they are lucky to have people that covered these events to come such as from France.

In January, a mass shooting occurred at a French weekly newspaper, “Charlie Hebdo,” by two gunmen who identified themselves as belonging to an Islamist terrorist group. Several shootings by them followed, and they were pursued, then were gunned down a couple days later. Soon after, roughly two million people and more than 40 world leaders met in Paris for a rally of national unity. Millions joined in demonstrations across France and the phrase Je suis Charlie (French for “I am Charlie”) became a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media.

According to mass communications Department Chair Gary Hicks we are living in an age, thanks to technology, when people can take it upon themselves to garner widespread attention to issues like human rights.

“There is no longer the need to depend on major media. This reality brings with it opportunity — but also very real challenges and dangers,” Hicks said. “We wanted to bring people together who have been involved in just such issues.”

He added that guest speakers and panels change every year but they always strive to bring in people who can discuss timely topics that will be relevant to students.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t engage our students in the media-related aspects of what occurred in Ferguson — so close to our campus,” Hicks said. “The French journalists will bring different perspectives to covering controversial events in the modern media age.”

According to Hicks, it is an educational responsibility to provoke students with fresh and unique viewpoints.

“Any time that we can expose our students to new and interesting perspectives, we feel it is our obligation to do so,” Hicks said. “Our guest speakers are now doing what many of our graduates soon will be.”

The week long series of events start today and ends Friday in Dunham Hall. Topics will include how to build a career after graduation in mass communication and tips on what to know before graduating. In addition, a First Amendment Free Food Festival will take place on Wednesday during lunchtime in the patio area outside Dunham Hall.

For more information visit http://siuemasscomm.com/2015/04/09/dont-miss-mass-comm-week/

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