Reporting on the Concerned Student 1950 press conference was an experience to learn from. I have been fortunate enough to cover events before with emotions running high for all participants. While covering this press conference, I witness very unprofessional journalism and the after effects it can have. It is of the upmost importance to first show and respect space for your subjects when given boundaries. Concerned Student 1950 had made been rallying and working very hard to make a long awaited change in our campus’ leadership and when this finally happened, all they wanted was a time to reflect and be together under a non-pressure atmosphere. In order to assure this, the group was proactive and scheduled a live stream press conference at 1pm. However, the same star of the viral video shot by a Mizzou student, Tim Tai was both intrusive and disrespectful during both the circle on Carnahan quad and after the press conference.
In order to search for a different angle than my fellow students covering the conference for class, I had waited behind the stage exit for the group to walk off. I waited while members were interviewed and asked permission to use their photos and quotes. Journalists beside me interrupted other journalists’ interviews ruining both the camera shot and distracted the interviewee’s thoughts. It is something that takes time and experience to learn when it is appropriate to ask questions and where one should stand to get the angle they are searching for.
Although it is our job to get a story, it is also our job to be respectful. This is in the unwritten ethics of journalism. Citizens of this country do not trust media for this exact reason. The few that exhibit no care for their subjects and only for themselves and their salary are the ones that ruin the reputation for all. It is a sad truth and one that is inescapable. More than ever I believe the Cross-Cultural Journalism class required for journalism majors at Mizzou is priceless. We must learn to recognize our own privileges and learn how to understand where others are coming from. We must understand the context other’s views.
I believe that it is more important to exhibit a high standard of character as a person rather than present a good story at the cost of the trust of the public.