Interacting with Russian Journalists, Students

By Kelsey Duckett

After meeting and discussing various aspects of media with journalists and students from Russia on Thursday, I found myself relieved with the loose rules that American journalists face. I also found myself angry at the fact that journalists everywhere don’t have the same curtesy.

In just a short amount of time, it became clear to me that American journalists, in a sense, have it made. We have the freedom to cover, report and write on any subject as long as we are factual and fair — and in some cases, even that is a stretch.

But, I began to wonder if that is the luxury that journalist throughout the world make it out to be. I also began to wonder if the amount of news media in America is actually too much — is the general public really every getting the full story. Does America have too many news outlets? Are we exploiting free press?

These aren’t questions that are generally broached, in fact, most would argue that the free reign given to American journalists is exactly what is needed to keep government, among other entities in check. But what I worry about is American’s getting their news in the wrong places, or worse yet, getting the wrong news and not knowing it.

Think about it, how often do you, as the reader, check for corrections and follow-up with a news story to see what happened after the story broke. My guess would be it is pretty rare — at the same time, I don’t think journalists should be limited in what they can and cannot report, as they are in Russia, and many other countries.

At the end of the day, I am glad I am an American journalist that can cover the news, no matter what it is, without fear of losing my job or being punished by the government. It is important to have free reign, but it is also import to sift through that same news and encourage readers to education themselves — and never just rely on one source, or one reporter.

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