Tag Archives: Journalism

Rafael Lorente on WJLA: ‘Speed Kills’ When Journalists Rush Stories

WJLA reporter Kristine Frazao (left) interviews Merrill College Associate Dean Rafael Lorente.

WJLA reporter Kristine Frazao (left) interviews Merrill College Associate Dean Rafael Lorente.

Philip Merrill College of Journalism Associate Dean Rafael Lorente says journalists must fight the urge to rush stories to publication before facts are fully vetted.

“Speed kills,” Lorente said during an interview with WJLA this week at Knight Hall on the University of Maryland campus.

The Washington-based ABC affiliate sought Lorente to comment on a story about ABC News’ decision to suspend reporter Brian Ross.

The decision came after the network retracted a story Ross reported after former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russians.

Ross’ story erroneously detailed what Flynn was prepared to say in federal court, citing an unnamed source.

“We tell our students: stop, take a breath and check it again,” Lorente told WJLA. “If you end up being second and right, that’s better than being first and wrong.”

Lorente said getting it right — and being honest about making mistakes — is critical to earning public trust.

“The media is the enemy of liars and despots; it’s not the enemy of the people,” Lorente told WJLA.

Journalist and Author Jonathan Allen Talks Hillary Clinton’s ‘Doomed’ Campaign

Journalist and author Jonathan Allen.

Journalist and author Jonathan Allen.

In the midst of working on a book about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Jonathan Allen and co-author Amie Parnes received a troubling call from their editor.

“He said ‘this is foreboding, this is ominous,'” Allen told a packed audience in the Richard Eaton Broadcast Theater at Knight Hall Wednesday evening.

The editor at Penguin Random House — like so many pollsters and political pundits in 2016 — felt Clinton would defeat Donald Trump in the general election. But the book read like the tale of a failed campaign.

Reporting and writing chapter-by-chapter, Allen (Government and Politics ’98) and Parnes had not realized the picture painted by the collective work. And they weren’t certain until 10 o’clock on election night that they wouldn’t “have to go back and tear stuff up.”

It was a relief for Allen, who discussed “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” with Bloomberg White House correspondent and White House Correspondents’ Association President Margaret Talev (Journalism ’94).

The discussion was co-hosted by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.

“You always want to keep an open mind,” said Talev, who covered the Clinton campaign for Bloomberg. “But you always have an instinct.”

Margaret Talev and Jonathan Allen speak with students after discussing Allen's book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign."

Margaret Talev and Jonathan Allen speak with students after discussing Allen’s book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.”

Allen said he and Parnes, also co-authors of “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton,” hadn’t set out to write about a doomed run for president. “It was really just reporting the story” that led them to that narrative.

“We take the readers through the moments as they’re happening,” he said.

Allen, national political reporter at NBC News, and Parnes, senior political correspondent for The Hill, are also planning a book on the 2020 election.

Allison Michaels (’13) Hosts Live Politics Podcast for Washington Post

Washington Post projects editor Allison Michaels, a Merrill College alumna, hosts a podcast called "Can He Do That?"

Washington Post projects editor Allison Michaels, a Merrill College alumna, hosts a podcast called “Can He Do That?”

Allison Michaels and The Washington Post’s podcast team needed an innovative way to tell a big story.

In the weeks following Donald Trump being elected president, Michaels (M.J. ’13) and her colleagues saw an opportunity to use Post reporting to answer critical questions in a new way.

They looked to The Post’s audience for inspiration, and a common theme emerged.

“We saw a lot of people asking this question: ‘Can President Trump do some of the things he said during the campaign season?’” Michaels said.

A podcast, “Can He Do That?” was born. Michaels emerged as the best candidate to host. Recorded weekly since Trump’s inauguration in January, the chatty show was taped before a live audience Nov. 7 at the Warner Theater in Washington.

Michaels — who co-hosts each episode with a different Post reporter — will be joined by Post journalists Bob Woodward, 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner David Farenthold and Karen Tumulty for the live taping, hosted by The Post and Live Nation.

It’s the first time The Post hosted a live taping for one of its podcasts. Michaels said “Can He Do That?” was a natural choice.

In each episode, Michaels and a Post reporter dissect statements made by the president and dispassionately explain to listeners whether what Trump has promised is within the legal parameters of his office.

“Every episode we get feedback from listeners saying ‘this is a fair and balanced approach to the questions I have,’” Michaels said.

She said the live taping “would look back on an eventful year and analyze the significance of major events.”

“It’s been exciting to figure out exactly what it’s going to look like,” said Michaels, a newsroom projects editor after a stint on The Post’s national desk.

Rafael Lorente, associate dean for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, said he was not surprised Michaels was telling stories “critically important to a democratic society in a way that is as engaging as it is informative.”

“We often tell students that we listen to them when they have suggestions about how and what we teach. Allison is one of the students whose words and actions had an impact on the school and its curriculum,” Lorente said. “She was thoughtful and hard working, but most importantly she seemed to constantly be searching for new and better ways to tell a good story. We are proud.”

Michaels said her experience at Merrill prepared her for success at The Post.

“I think that Maryland certainly prepared me for the diverse landscape of the media today,” Michaels said. “Not only did I learn critical reporting skills, which are the bedrock of everything I do at The Washington Post, but I also was able to learn different approaches across different platforms.”

University Public Forum, SPJ Panel To Consider Free Speech Issues

The Society of Professional Journalists presents "Free Speech in the Age of Trump"

First Amendment issues will be debated Monday when a University of Maryland task force holds a public forum and the university student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosts a panel discussion on free speech.

The Joint President/Senate Inclusion & Respect Task Force is inviting students, faculty and staff to attend the forum (Nov. 6, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in 6137 McKeldin Library) to offer their opinions on how to balance the right of free speech with the need to combat hate speech on a public university campus.

Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy A. Dalglish is co-chair of the task force, appointed by University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and the University Senate in September to study how the university should nurture a respectful and inclusive campus climate and stand against hate.

The panel is required to submit its report and recommendations to the Senate and president no later than March 30, 2018.

After the public forum, the University of Maryland student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host a discussion titled “Free Speech in the Age of Trump” from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Knight Hall’s Eaton Theater.

“Understanding and protecting the First Amendment is one of the most important missions of SPJ,” said Merrill College senior Andy Dunn, programming chair for the chapter. “Specifically, free speech on college campuses has become an increasingly hot issue and one that would greatly benefit from a considered discussion.”

Panelists will include Margaret Talev (’94), Bloomerg White House reporter and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association; Adam Goldstein, legal fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; and Michael Poterala, vice president and general counsel at the University of Maryland. The discussion will be moderated by Michael Spivey, a constitutional expert and government and politics professor at the university.

Free Speech/Hate Speech public forum at the University of Maryland.


Eaton Chair Mark Feldstein Talks Harvey Weinstein, Laura Ingraham

Eaton Chair Mark Feldstein

Mark Feldstein.

The A-list celebrities accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault are giving the allegations unusual attention and fueling a national conversation, Philip Merrill College of Journalism Professor Mark Feldstein told USA Today this week.

“The prominence of the accusers … lends enormous credence and power to the allegations,” said Feldstein, Richard Eaton Chair of Broadcast Journalism at the college. It “gives a lot more oxygen to the story.”

Feldstein says similar stories may continue to emerge as long as the public remains engaged.

Also in The Guardian

Laura Ingraham’s move to Fox News highlights the alliance between conservative media and President Donald Trump, Feldstein told The Guardian.

“There’s actually a long history of journalistic commentators climbing in and out of bed with politicians,” he said. “What’s interesting, is how open this is.”

Ingraham, a conservative media star, debuted on the cable news channel in prime time this week.