George Daniels on Faculty Forum
“Say One Word About Israel and You’re Anti-Semitic!”
On March 25th, 2011 I attended the second Faculty Forum of the semester. That was over a month ago, but one of the faculty members that spoke to the group made quite the impact. His name is Rick Bragg. Rick Bragg is currently the Professor of Writing at the University of Alabama, but since joining the faculty at the U of A, Bragg has had many adventures.
Rick Bragg discussed the many jobs that he had before becoming a professor at the University. I was especially interested in his tales of being a writing for the NY Times, traveling to Haiti for journalism work, and how he became a credited author. Rick Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize winner and he was also awarded the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.
It was inspiring to here the story of a man who was raised in a small town in Alabama who went on to travel across the country and to other countries for his work. He told us (the students attended the Faculty Forum) about how he simply just quit the NY Times. You don’t hear about people just leaving a job at the New York Times, but Rick Bragg wasn’t pleased so he left. He said he did that on numerous occasions and that never seemed to slow him down. He is a strong-willed man who lives his life that he wants to live it and by doing so he earned himself a Pulitzer Prize, more than 50 other writing awards, book deals, and teaching jobs at various colleges. The University of Alabama is lucky to have him on their staff.
As I have previously stated, I am not interested in earning a degree in journalism. I am strictly focused on earning my MSW in social work, but I have been thinking about possibly entering law school after completing my undergraduate/masters education. So, when we learned about journalism and the law in class a couple of weeks ago, I was really interested.
The First Amendment was brought up and how far this amendment can or cannot go to protect people. Helen Thomas, a renowned journalist and dean of the White House corps was accused of making anti-semetic comments in an interview. I do not believe that Helen Thomas was intending to be disrespectful and I feel that the First Amendment did not exactly help her out in this situation. Her right to free speech was not protected and in return for making one simple comment, she lost her most prized possession…her career. Ethics kind of got in the way in this particular case. Yes, the First Amendment was created to protect American’s freedom, but isn’t the beauty of freedom the fact that we can say or do whatever we so choose to do as long as it is legal?
People were concerned that all Jews would be offended by what Helen Thomas said and as a result, people decided that the “right thing to do” would be to strip Thomas of her title. Many felt it was necessary and many felt it was taken to an extreme. Law and ethics are important factors in journalism and because of this no matter what anyone says or does, someone will not approve. It’s simply a fact of life. I guess society will just always have to settle with having the majority of society content, regardless of how it may affect one person.
This past Monday night I attended a showing of the movie “Good Night, and Good Luck” hosted by the University of Alabama’s Society of Professional Journalists. After wandering around the communication building also known as Reese Phifer for what felt like one hundred years, I finally found people who knew where the ICIR theatre room was! I walked inside and was somewhat surprised that there were only a few people sitting in the room waiting for the movie to start.
I had never heard of “Good Night, and Good Luck” until that very moment so I was eager to see what it was going to be about. The first thing that caught my attention in the film? George Clooney, obviously. The second thing that caught my attention was that it was most definitely set in the 1950s because of the way people were dressed and the fact that they were discussing threats of Communism.
As the story line progressed, I gathered that this movie was about a CBS reporter named Edward Murrow and he was attempting to reveal Senator Joseph McCarthy as one of the main people in charge of causing America to live in such great fear of Communism. Murrow and his team fought to expose and show America who Senator McCarthy truly was. Watching “Good Night, and Good Luck” was definitely a learning experience for me because up until now I had no idea who Edward Murrow was or the effects he had on the world of broadcast journalism.
I am the kind of person who likes to make goals and then work every day to try to achieve those goals. Currently, I am a social work major and I am taking classes this semester that are required for my degree, except for one. Journalism 101, which meets on Wednesdays from 12:00-12:50. I’ll admit, I registered for Journalism 101 because it was worth one credit hour and it would count toward my “free elective credits” and it would put me one step closer to earning my BSW in Social Work (I told you I plan ahead). However, I am now beginning to realize that journalism is actually quite interesting.
I realized this after the class met for the first time on January 12th, 2011. My professor, George Daniels, gave us a word for every letter in the word “journalism.” For example, “J” stands for “justice.” As he kept explaining each letter in the word “journalism,” I became more and more intrigued with the subject of journalism. I guess I never really understood what journalists did exactly, but now I have a better understanding of what all a person can do with a major in journalism. Journalism has spread from the newspaper to magazines to the Internet to television, etc. So far I am really intrigued by all I am learning in my Journalism 101 class and I am looking forward to the future classes so I can learn more!
On Wednesday, January 19th, I made my way toward the Ferguson Center after my 10AM Spanish Class. I was going to “Get On Board Day”, which is an event that the University of Alabama has to ensure that students receive information about all of the clubs, societies, and organizations that UA has to offer. To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in joining any more clubs on campus, I was only there to sign my name at the journalism table for my Journalism 101 class. So, I walked into “the Ferg” and followed the signs that were supposed to lead me to the event that was “Get On Board Day.” I was a woman on a mission, I was looking for that one table, that one table where I had to sign my name, receive some information, and then leave. Easier said than done. I wandered around, I walked past table after table and I even passed some tables multiple times. I tried reading the map that was posted outside a set of double doors and I failed again. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Right? Right. Finally located the table I was looking for and I was so annoyed with myself and my terrible sense of direction, that I stated out loud “wow, I definitely walked past this table like three times.” That statement was meant to be only heard by me, but the guy sitting behind the table said, “yeah, I saw you walk past us like three times.” Needless to say, I was a tad embarrassed. I smiled and told him why I was there, signed the roll sheet, gave them my information, and took a flyer. I quickly walked away and headed toward the food court area so I could get some lunch before my next class. Then I decided to stop and actually read the flyer he had given me. After reading the flyer, I realized that what I had just signed up for sounded pretty interesting and that I should probably look around and give some of the other organizations a chance as well. So, I did just that and now I can proudly say that I am a member of three different organizations at the University of Alabama. I really shouldn’t be so quick to judge. I like to think I know everything and then the Universe always seems to prove me wrong.