Sep 232008
 
Authors: Shayna Grajo

Media professionals will come forward today to discuss how the presidential candidates and the media address the nation’s underrepresented populations in the election season.

The panel discussion at CSU’s 2008 Diversity Conference will analyze both media coverage of and journalistic accountability to diverse populations such as the poor, elderly, disabled and ethnic.

Topics in the one-hour discussion will encompass societal and ballot issues such as livable wages, immigration, health care and race relations. Moderated by Collegian Newsroom Advisor Holly Wolcott, the four-member panel, featuring journalists from mixed media outlets, begins at 11 a.m. in Lory Student Center Room 220.

This is Wolcott’s fourth year organizing a Student Media panel appearance at the diversity conference. Student Media has presented a range of media-related topics year-to-year, Wolcott said, because it is significant to include media in dialogues on diversity.

The Student Media panel proposals from all years were approved by Dana Hiatt, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Hiatt said the media play an “obvious” part of “diversity impact on society.”

Given the influence of media coverage on public opinion, Wolcott said questions to the panel will directly address journalism’s roles and responsibilities to diverse publics and the general voting population.

This year’s panel includes CSU instructor Julia Sandidge, CTV adviser and former broadcast anchor. The panel also consists of Bob Moore, editor of the Coloradoan; Vanessa Martinez, online editor of 5280 Magazine; and Jason Kosena, senior political writer at The Colorado Independent, a not-for-profit online journalism organization.

The title of the panel is “Social Justice and the Media: A Panel Discussion Analyzing Whether the U.S. Presidential Candidates are Adequately Addressing the Issues of Importance for the Nation’s Underrepresented Populations.”

“Now that the presidential race is on final approach, I think it’s critical that voters and the media pay particular attention to other issues in addition to the war and recession,” Wolcott said in an interview this week.

“With this discussion, I’m hoping to discover some of the significant issues affecting this country’s underrepresented populations that are not being discussed on a national platform or being woefully under-discussed.”

Sandidge said media coverage of broad election issues at the micro-level could affect the care of voters on the issues. Media could do more to cover and explain various lifestyles, she said. She gave examples of those who are ill or those paying for childcare with two jobs.

“I think one thing that we’re doing as journalists is that we’re getting the big story, but we’re missing the little story that tells the big story,” Sandidge said. “If young journalists can start to think outside their own realm, their own circles, and start to see the bigger picture and the people that they might be overlooking, then this will have been a great hour.”

News Editor Shayna Grajo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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