Building Relationships with Journalists
Dr. Kathleen Culver
Director of the Center for Journalism Ethics, Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Nov. 10, 2017
Undergraduate students and faculty participated in an interactive talk about cross-disciplinary relationships led by Dr. Kathleen Culver. Culver addressed the differences between journalism and academia, explaining, “A lot of journalism is driven by events, while a lot of expertise is driven by issues.” While journalists must present stories that are relevant, timely, and interesting to a wide audience, scholars more often focus on broad concepts and their history. This difference affects the way the two groups communicate, work, and interact.
It is also these differences that allow scholars and journalists to help each other. Scholars can learn from journalists, especially about communicating effectively with a non-academic audience. (see Professor Wagner’s talk) On the other hand, academics can provide valuable background knowledge to journalists on the broader issues surrounding events they cover. Journalist do not have years to conduct research on the topics on which they report, and thus appreciate the insights that scholars offer. Culver called on academics to be proactive in reaching out to journalists. If scholars notice that an issue is being misreported or underreported, they should reach out by emailing or calling the journalist or the organization they write for.