Due to the Donald Trump presidency, the distrust in the media and journalists is a clear and present problem not only in society, but in schools as well.
Journalists and news outlets including newspapers, online media, radio and television broadcast are under constant scrutiny and are being portrayed, as Trump calls them, the “enemy of American people.” Last week at a Montana rally, Trump praised Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte for body slamming a reporter.
Student journalists and publications are also facing scrutiny.
Students are reluctant to speak with student journalists because of the fear of their words being misrepresented.
As a staff writer for The Poly Post, I must interview at least two students to represent their opinions on the subject at hand. However, I am faced with interviewing three to four students because based on experience, one or two of the students are bound tell me that they would not like to speak with the paper.
For example, while reporting on an opinion piece about makeup in the workplace earlier this year, I approached two female students.
One of the students was willing to talk until the other advised her not to, stating she didn’t want me to quote something she never said, or use her quote for something completely different.
Staff and faculty have also been hesitant to speak about school-wide subjects as well.
While reporting a story about the future of the Classroom, Laboratory and Administration building, I tried numerous times to reach out to the director of the building. When I was able to get in touch with the director a week later, the director said I should not have been writing the article in the first place.
It is only in the past few years, in correlation with the Trump presidency, that people are skeptical about the intent of reporters.
Posting his every discontent and thought to Twitter, Trump constantly attacks news outlets and journalists for the world to see online.
“My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting,” Trump posted on Twitter in 2016.
My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2016
Students today prefer to use social media to get their user-generated news updates and give their opinions on issues that could easily be represented in a news outlet as well.
To get an accurate representation of student concern, not only I, however, but also other reporters have taken to sifting through posts and comments on Reddit regarding student opinions of issues involving CPP. Student Reddit users are then contacted to see if they want to voice their opinion in the paper instead of just contacting the campus news source in the first place to share their concerns that other students can relate to as well.
The intention of journalism is to inform readers with clear and accurate information to allow readers to make informed decisions on information provided.
News outlets keep continuous tabs on Trump to hold him accountable for his actions. This constant watchdog and criticism role is one of the main reasons Trump attacks and distrusts the media and reflects reporters in a bad light.
Student hesitation to speak with Poly Post reporters is a direct effect of distrust in journalists and news outlets that is increasing during the Trump presidency.
Students have a choice to represent themselves and the student body in the newspaper to give a more accurate and equal side to every story, and they should.
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