Mass Communications Week 2015 provokes discussion on media-related events

Discussions among students, faculty and panelists were stirred by the topics at hand—Ferguson protests and French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo– among others that engaged participants with new information or “provocation” regarding the media’s role at the 2015 Mass Communications Week, April 13-17.

Visiting speakers Stefan Bradley and John Doggette discussed their mediating roles in regards to Ferguson. Their discussion was among several that took place during Mass Communications Week 2015 that addressed the role of media in events that captured international attention. Photo by Theresa San Luis.

On Thursday, Kenya Vaughn, Website Editor of the St. Louis American newspaper, said Ferguson allowed her to use journalism as a form of story-telling verses reporting in order for people to understand what was going on. She said a lot of people thought Ferguson was a very violent place and that looting and rioting were going on the entire time which was not the case.

“So my goal was to let people know that the vast majority of protests was peaceful,” Vaughn said.

She also added she has a passion for the African-American community and that the spotlight on the story provides a platform for conversation and opens the door for healing.

St. Louis University history professor, Stefan Bradley, said on Tuesday’s forum, “Conflict Building and Community Building in the Time of Crisis” that the media is operating off of ratings.

“You know that if it bleeds, it leads,” Bradley said.

He added that people in Ferguson do not like the media.

Bradley was called following the initial Ferguson incident to meet with city leaders to figure out how to make things calmer.

When the Quicktrip gas station was being burnt down, Bradley said he knew that people were not in their right mind.

“Maybe not everybody was thinking straight,” Bradley said.

He said he could understand, however, the sense of frenzy experienced by the people who did not believe they had any other choice.

Bradley said everybody understood there was a crisis, but as he was walking down the street in Ferguson at one point last fall, he, an African-American ran into a former schoolmate, and an officer approached him and told him to not stand in one spot.

That encounter was an infringement on his constitutional rights, according to Bradley.

“If American citizens were violated, I agree we were sent drones in that spot,” Bradley said.

Vaughn reiterated her point on Thursday in regards to the relationship between the African American community and police officers.

“The law enforcement are afraid of the African American community, and the African American community is frustrated and irritated by police because they feel unfairly targeted, and so there’s this dysfunction level,” Vaughn said.

She added there is no sense of community or feeling that they are partners in this.

John Doggette, Executive Director of Community Mediation Center of St. Louis, said the facilitating process can involve a two-way exchange between the human with feelings and the officer who has a protocol.

“How do you create trust?” Doggette asked during Tuesday’s session. “Let people have a conversation.”

On Thursday, Journalism in France & Provocation Charlie Hebdo featured Vincent Alexander Jean-Claude Jarnigon, Editor-in-Chief of Quest France, Rennnes, a daily publication. In addition, Violette Lazard, Investigative Reporter for Le Nouvel Observateur traveled to SIUE to share her perspectives.

The session focused on how journalism operates in France. The French journalists discussed laws regarding protection of journalists and their sources. They also discussed ethical issues surrounding cartoons printed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that stirred controversy.

According to SIUE mass communication professor Suman Mishra, she thought the presentation was very important for students.

“It gave them an opportunity to interact with journalists from France and ask them questions about similarities and differences in the US and French laws and journalistic practices,” Mishra said.

According to Mishra, students can compare the First Amendment and state shield laws in the U.S. to similar laws in France.

“In addition I think the ethical principles noted by Vincent Alexander Jean-Claude Jarnigon, ‘Say without hurting, show without shocking, and denounce without condemning’ are excellent guiding principles for students of journalism to know and adhere to,” Mishra said.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Mass Communications

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site