Honors lecture challenges journalists

After attending John Phillip Santos’ lecture to the Honors program, I could not help but feel many different things.

He began the lecture discussing how identity shapes people. His identity, although specific to him, allows for his being to truly be understanding in terms of acceptance.

Spanning two evening sessions, he went into depth of his purpose for speaking to the Honors program. The first night, more of a background of his family’s history gave insight into how he summed up the first night: questioning identity and interrogating identity. This was reinforced by a quick overview of Latin America history fused with European culture, creating a new mestizo culture.

The second night, however, was far more audience-oriented. Santos discussed in-depth how the media has a major influence over how we perceive culture. I could not agree with him more. The media is notorious for presenting to people how things should be. If the media can influence everything from how we eat and dress to the cars we drive, should the media go as far to influence how we influence each other’s cultures?

Although the lecture generally was supposed to ease from identity into problems associated with the many global border problems, I decided the media portion best-suited my interests. As a communication arts major, I have a duty to report the truth, as with all journalists. Sometimes, this does not always happen in such a way.

TV news networks, wishing to earn more money or gain higher ratings, may present the side of the story their viewers want to see. Or, in the social media generation, people may be more prone to want news as soon as it happens — not wait around until all of the details are confirmed to be true or not.

I took this lecture to be not only of identity to me as a journalist, but as a challenge to all journalists. Journalists are responsible to deliver the truth about what happens. Since I will be studying journalism for the next few years, it is a lesson which serves me well in my quest to do my job. I am not sure if John Phillip Santos meant for any of us to walk away from his lecture thinking about this, but I am personally glad I discovered this for myself, as I will use this knowledge to influence culture, but in a positive and true way.


Jennifer Caldwell

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