Budding reporters and politics

Young journalists covering the Democrat convention listened to a point of view they are unlikely to hear this week in Philadelphia—a conservative one.

As a journalism professor at Temple University, I was invited to speak to a group of 25 students at the School District of Philadelphia, spending about two hours answering questions and talking about the upcoming presidential race.

We calmly discussed many issues, including race relations, immigration and Donald Trump.

You realize that almost no one agreed with you, one student told me later, adding that a teacher did describe the meeting as a turning point in the students’ journalistic training. Of course, I replied, that’s because you’ve almost never heard a conservative point of view.

Harper meets with Philadelphia students reporting on the convention.
Philadelphia students meet a conservative.

These students are among the best and the brightest from Philadelphia’s troubled schools. But their beliefs seem mired in years of leftist education and peer pressure.

One student stated matter-of-factly that Trayvon Martin was murdered. He was killed, I responded, and a jury found George Zimmerman innocent of murder. Accuracy is critical in journalism, I added.

One asked this question: Why can’t everyone come to the United States like we can go to other countries? We can visit, but we can’t live in China, Europe or much of the world, I replied, because Americans, like U.S. immigrants, need residence visas.

Another posed this question: Isn’t it possible Donald Trump would declare martial law? If he did, many conservatives would exercise their rights under the Second Amendment, I said.

I’m not sure I convinced many of them to come around to a conservative viewpoint, but one of the newly minted reporters asked me for an interview after the session. One step at a time, I thought.

Longtime journalist Christopher Harper teaches media law.
Longtime journalist Christopher Harper teaches media law and writes at www.mediamashup.org

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