Broadcast Journalism: New & Traditional Media
WorldChicago’s September Coffee Conversation featured 22 broadcast journalists from 22 different countries around the world, in Chicago through the U.S. Department of State’s flagship professional exchange, the International Visitor Leadership Program. After professional meetings with the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post Chicago, Leo Burnett, and Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, the delegates joined WorldChicago members at the Chicago Cultural Center for an informal, person-to-person discussion about the state of journalism today.
The afternoon event opened with remarks from IVLP delegates Rachael Bakam, CEO of Rayzeds Media in Nigeria, and Charles Ebune, Reporter with Cameroon Radio and Television. The two delegates shared their experiences and impressions of American culture, society, and journalism. Chicago was the last stop on a three-week itinerary that included Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Oklahoma City, OK, Syracuse, NY, and Greensboro, NC.
Ms. Bakam made note of the openness of Americans beyond their professional meetings. A highlight was home hospitality in Greensboro, where she and her colleagues were hosted for dinner with a local family. Mr. Ebune framed his remarks around his interpretation of what “America is.” Through his IVLP experience, he came to see that America is history, America is diversity, American is people, and America is opportunity.
Citizen Diplomacy in Action
The IVLP delegates then broke into small groups with dozens of gathered WorldChicago members, hosts, and guests for round robin-style discussions on topics such as media objectivity, protection of journalists, data privacy, and new versus traditional media.
WorldChicago Program Assistant Ann Szeliga joined a small group discussion with delegates from countries with high levels of democracy and freedom of press, as well as with delegates from countries with highly-monitored, state-run media. The conversation challenged some of her assumptions about freedom of speech.
“Being from the United States, I previously made the assumption that journalists and reporters have an ‘easier’ time here in their reporting because they have a freedom of press and speech that many other countries lack,” she said. “Though in the U.S the safety and protection of journalists within the nation is not typically a concern, after hearing from a Professor from Columbia College Chicago about the issue of censorship and honesty, I realize the challenge and struggle of having freedom of press brings about a whole new level of challenges.”
As Ann observed from the discussion, “The issue of censorship specifically in the U.S. and the U.K. can be seriously detrimental to the quality and portrayal of various situations throughout the world. Though some of the delegates seemed impressed with the U.S. media and journalism overall, the overwhelming censorship and lack of objectivity seemed to be their main critique.”
Program Assistant Lisa Ledvora also gained insights from her small group conversations.
“While discussing how journalism has changed over the years, one delegate expressed how the digital age has impacted the spread of news,” she began. “He believes that the increasing value placed on social media by the general public is detracting from the field of journalism.” As more and more people use their phones and the Internet to quickly access media sources — which allows for a quicker spread of information — Lisa said that he felt that the news becomes more and more about the spectacular instead of about important issues.
“The delegate worries that he will soon be out of a job,” she shared, “because as journalism becomes more entertaining, his traditional way of presenting the news will become obsolete.”
— Maria Krasinski, WorldChicago
The WorldChicago Coffee Conversations Series is an open forum for WorldChicago members and the greater Chicago community to engage in informal discussion of world affairs, current events, and cultural exchange with leading international professionals. Visit our Upcoming Events page for updates on the next event in the series.