Nov 122003
Authors: Jason Kosena

Yael Swerdlow has been a journalist for 23 years and never has

been to Israel, a journalism hot spot in the world. She does not go

to Israel because she is Jewish.

“The reason I have for not going to Israel is because I know, as

a Jew, the second I landed I couldn’t be objective,” Swerdlow


Speaking at the Lory Student Center Wednesday night, Swerdlow

gave audience members her views on the media, its coverage playing

out in the press and the journalists who report it.

Quickly turning her presentation into a less organized and more

informal discussion with community members and students on many

different issues involving American media, she spoke on how it is

driven and the purpose behind it.

Swerdlow, who has been on Pulitzer Prize-winning teams for the

1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge, Calif., earthquake,

jumped from one topic to another quite quickly, speaking on issues

from media bias to the nature of journalism as a business.

“This is what (journalism) is about. I am not dissing the

journalists, I am dissing the system the journalists are working

under,” Swerdlow said.

Journalists are working in a profit-driven atmosphere, where

there is a lot more behind a story than providing information to

the people, she said.

“If you think that there is something important on the page of a

newspaper, just remember that (that content) is only there to fill

the extra space from the mattress ad,” Swerdlow said.

She did mention briefly that despite this opinion, there are

good journalists out there today.

“I really believe that there are many hard working, ethical,

great reporters working today,” Swerdlow said.

In Swerdlow’s opinion, many journalists succumb to negative

aspects of the business after being in the field too long.

“You cross the line of doing (journalism) for the cause and

doing it for you,” she said.

Some believe “advocacy journalism” is also becoming more

apparent in today’s media. Advocacy journalism, according to

Swerdlow, is when journalists report issues with a bias to further

their own personal beliefs and convictions.

“Advocacy journalism is the cause of the day. Journalists are

running around claiming that they can make the world a better

place, for the downtrodden, the poor, the people that are slipping

through the cracks,” Swerdlow said.

Patrick Plaisance, a professor in the journalism department at

CSU, disagreed with much of what Skedlow said.

“I have to object to your gross generalization of journalism. We

cannot ignore the vast amount of good journalists who are out

there,” Plaisance said. “I just don’t want one negative and

distorted view of the profession being put out there.”

After a heated dialogue between Plaisance and Skedlow, Plaisance

left the discussion early in the lecture.

Swerdlow admitted the comments of Plaisance “threw her off,” but

she finished her speech with a plea for the audience.

“Please don’t just listen to what it is you want to hear. Always

get the other side of everything so you can make your opinion.”




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