Journalism and Social Justice Forum Calls All Writers With a Cause

The media often gets a bad rap for being exploitive and shallow in its reporting of important issues. Negative criticism of the media as a whole often overshadows the dedicated work of journalists who fight for social justice through their reporting.

Teresa Moore, media studies professor and faculty advisor for the Foghorn said, “The media is talked about as one general thing. But, it is so much richer and more complex than people realize.”

Next Monday, two highly accomplished investigative reporters will be visiting USF to discuss their experiences as social justice journalists. Scheduled to speak at the forum are A.C. Thompson and Nell Bernstein.

The “Write for Right: Social Justice Journalism” forum is the first event in a discussion series organized to promote awareness about the journalism minor. “We wanted to provide a venue for students to talk to real reporters. where they feel comfortable asking them anything,” said Moore.

Referring to Bernstein and Thompson, Moore said, “They go to the places that most can’t and won’t go to and show us things that people really need to see.” Striving to give a voice to the voiceless, “their advocacy is based on solid reporting,” said Moore.

Th ompson is a senior writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He received the highly prestigious 2005 George Polk Award for “Forgotten City.”

“[Thompson] is a one-man staff . The Polk award committee knew that he was working with a lot less than the bigger newsrooms, but he is still able to do important work,” said Moore.

His reporting in “Forgotten City” exposed the dire straits of public housing in San Francisco and led to legislation to reverse the city’s negligence.

Bernstein has dedicated the last six years of her work to reporting about the lives of the children of prisoners. Bernstein said, “I wanted to answer the question as to how such a large number of kids could become so invisible.” Her work has been featured in many publications including Salon.com, the Washington Post and Glamour.

Bernstein’s reporting on this subject is compiled in her book, “All Alone in the World: Children of Incarcerated Parents.” Her exposure of the issue has also led to a resolution by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling for a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Instead of simply quoting politicians, Bernstein said, “Journalists should be in the habit of making the person who is aff ected by a policy their primary source.”

The “Write for Right: Social Justice Journalism” forum will be free and open to all on April 24 from 4-5:30pm in the University Center Faculty Lounge room 222.

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