Oregon professors discuss journalism, activism, and social justice on Sept. 16

SALEM –– Amid news cycles that feel never-ending in their pursuit of our attention, Ramycia McGhee of LBCC and Taylor A. Marrow III of Chemeketa Community College will host a conversation on the rapid growth of independent journalism and its connections with social justice and activism.

This live online event Wednesday, Sept. 16, will examine the intersection of journalism in new media with the present-day activism around Black lives and police accountability. Viewers can expect this discussion to touch on various aspects of journalism’s role in activism throughout history. The event is scheduled from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. The Facebook link is http://www.facebook.com/taylor.marrow.3/posts/10158682453657710

The constant presence of live, unedited feeds on social media platforms can increase the sense that all this information is overwhelming, organizers said in a press release. News fatigue, both for creators and consumers, is a real phenomenon that isn’t new, especially when the news is traumatic. Repeated exposure to violent videos and images can be exhausting, induce numbness, and dampen the human spirit.

Marrow, editor of “America Awakened: The Anti-Lynching Crusade of Ida B. Wells-Barnett,” and McGhee, an English professor at LBCC, will discuss how historic journalists such as Wells-Barnett confronted this fatigue, and what new media journalism might mean for confronting it in ourselves.

With the rise of new media, particularly live-streaming video reporting of events in real time, activist participants in protests for example have become de facto journalists, drawing into question how far the First Amendment freedom of the press extends when anyone with a smartphone can be considered a member of the press. Assaults and arrests of press members by law enforcement have become a matter of constitutional importance.

As with all information in the era of “fake news,” the perspective of independent journalism further complicates the role of live-streamers attending events. Perhaps now more than ever, critical thinking and source evaluation is paramount, yet assessing a source that on its surface appears to be neutral first-person video is incredibly difficult.

“It’s even hard for experts to tell which news stories are credible, so we shouldn’t be surprised when non-experts read something and just share, share, share,” McGhee said.

Marrow and McGhee, activists in their communities, will help viewers connect journalism’s past with its present identity and future possibilities.

This event is made possible by Chemeketa Press, which published Marrow’s “America Awakened” in 2020. Chemeketa Press organizes ongoing speaking events for its authors on topics related to their publications. For more information, see http://www.chemeketapress.org.

For more information about this event, contact Brian Mosher at brian.mosher@chemeketa.edu.

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