Partnerships for public programming featuring journalists
The "media" is often attacked using this general form of the word. Most of the negative rhetoric against the "media" is usually based on what people see on opinion-based "news" cable shows or Op-Ed columns. The general public doesn't understand there is a fundamental difference in journalists and the talking heads they watch often yelling at each other on TV. One of the problems here is public education.
Journalists from credible institutions follow very strict ethical standards in their writing and reporting. Facts are vetted, reviewed and opposing views are shared when reporting on a story. This is most evident in local newsrooms around the country. As a former member of the media in my own community, I have done the work of a journalist and TV reporter, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for public service reporting. During my time as a reporter, I attended city council meetings, sat through hundreds of court proceedings, read through thousands of court documents or reports and ultimately acted as a watch dog in our community by uncovering facts otherwise unknown by the general public. By attacking the general "media," the public doesn't realize they are advocating to live in the dark - by attacking our fundamental constitutional right of freedom of the press and their responsibility to hold the powerful accountable.
Librarianship and journalism have many shared missions- most importantly, ensuring the public is provided access to information. Perhaps this is why I work at the library system when I left journalism and feel so at home. We must work together to highlight credible information and help the public differentiate between fact and fiction.
At the Charleston County Public Library, our Tech Team offers a course in teaching patrons how to spot "fake news." We also work to partner with local journalist on special programs as often as possible. In 2019, we worked with the Post and Courier Newspaper's Food Critic and Reporter on collecting and telling the stories of Black Charlestonian's first integrated dining experiences. Starting in 2019, we also launched our annual Girls on the Beat program during the summer, which provides a one-week boot camp for teenage girls on journalism basics. Female journalists from the newspaper and TV news stations from our community lead sessions teaching the fundamentals of journalism and participants produce their own news piece at the end of the camp, featured on the library's website. For the girls who wish to enter into journalism, this program provides a foundation. For those who don't go into journalism, it teaches them the truth about journalism and how to recognize credible reporting.
We are now working on a potential collaborative news literacy initiative, to help further highlight the importance of facts and encouraging our community to use the library in their fact-finding missions. Together, I believe we can chip away at this stigma and help our community find truth.