“Has there been a difference in politics since campaign finance reform?” and “Should personal biases influence journalists’ work?” were just some of the questions asked by Emerson students at the Post-Election Conversation held in Emerson’s Charles Beard Room on November 9.
Boston Globe Columnist Derrick Jackson and WCVB Channel 5 News Anchor Pam Cross ’75 joined Emerson Journalism Assistant Professor Mike Brown to discuss the role the media played in the recent gubernatorial election, and offered advice for future journalists.
Cross has anchored for the local ABC-TV affiliate, WCVB, since 1993. Jackson, who is also a photographer, covers politics and race in his weekly opinion column for the Globe. He has been with the newspaper since 1988.
“I don’t know too many jobs where you can wake up and see your work as meaningful, but mine is one of them.”
Together, the two journalists brought a diverse perspective to a conversation that ranged from the election results, to a precise definition of the word “unbiased.” Jackson referenced his own experiences in the field. “I think a key word to remember is passion,” he said. “Passion for researching, taking notes, talking to people, etc. Every reporter has their own political leanings, but you have to go out with a passion for fairness.”
Cross and Jackson also advised students to seek opinions from the opposite camp. “The best letters I get,” Jackson added, “are from people who say ‘I disagree with what you said, but I respect the way you said it, because you covered both sides’.”
Journalism students especially benefited from the guest speakers discussion about their work environment. Cross described the day-to-day operations of a newsroom and Jackson explained the process of planning an editorial piece for the paper. Both journalists urged students to think outside the box if they want to stand out from the pack. “Look for the story that no one else is covering,” Jackson said.