Save the date: Tuesday 11/16 1-2pm “SoHo Memory Project”
A discussion on ZOOM of the award-winning SoHo Memory Project documentary with City Tech Prof. Josh Kapusinski (COMD, Moving Pixels Club), Jonathan Baez (City Tech alum and cinematographer), and Or Szyflingier (alum and director).
I am asking that you all attend the above event (it will be taped if your schedule won’t allow for this). I will be tying in the Documentary Discussion to your own final project proposals (Assignment #3)
Thanks for your strong opinions on the real (or perhaps overblown) dangers of social media giant Facebook and your recognition that we need more courageous Francis Haugens and Maria Ressas in the world to call out those that manipulate and falsify information (or ignore damaging consequences) in their quest for power and profit. Who knew that Facebook was a 3 trillion dollar company and had 2.3 billion world-wide users (64 percent of everyone that uses the internet)? It’s quite a force in the world, and one we certainly need to keep our eyes on.
While clearly a danger in so many ways, as Darnell points out, social media is also very helpful in that “it allows people to spread their opinions.” Given the rise of big media and social media, your opinions–and a heightened critical media literacy–matter now more than ever.
For this week, I ask you to read the views of another important journalist and to hear more of what’s on your mind, specifically, in an Op-Ed that you write on an issue that matters greatly to you.
The OpEd, which stands for “opposite the editorial page,” is a short piece of writing typically published by a newspaper, which expresses the opinion of an author not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board. This genre was invented by the New York Times in 1970 and has been a mainstay of most newspapers ever since. Interestingly, just this year, the Times announced it would now call opinion pieces “Guest Essays” (largely due to the fact that papers are now mostly on-line – i.e. not “opposite” another piece of writing on paper).
The New York Times also now has a Video Op Ed section, which we’ll discuss further next week.
The separation of opinion from the news is also part of the “professionalization” of the news that the New York Times also helped develop. Since the early 1900s, professional reporters have been asked to be “neutral” and “unbiased” when covering stories. Today, many in the mainstream media (PBS, NBC News, CNN, etc.) prize neutrality over virtually all other values. Being “neutral” means giving equal credence, focus, and criticism for all sides of an argument, without passing judgment as to the validity of the argument. The “neutral” reporter simply reports what the different sides of a debate assert but does not take a position.
In 2019, Lewis Raven Wallace (in his book The View From Somewhere ) was one of the first reporters to criticize what he calls “the myth of journalistic objectivity.” To learn why, read his Op-Ed “Objectivity is Dead, and I’m Okay With It”
POST ASSIGNMENT: In a paragraph, respond to one point Wallace makes in his writing that you found interesting and important. Alternately, give a current example that speaks to the danger of journalists being too neutral or a story that isn’t being covered but should be. Post due: Wed., Nov. 3
OpEd Assignment: Over the next two weeks, I also want you to work on your own OpEd, focusing on an issue that matters to you greatly. If you like, you can draw from an earlier post or simply take a position on an issue currently in the news. Here are directions for the assignment: OpEdAssignment. Please upload this assignment HERE. Please come to office hours (Mondays 4-5) if you wish to discuss your topic with me (or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)