Talking journalism: students organize and run a media event

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Photo by Alexandre Knobloch

Students from two film classes joined forces with the Global Peace Film Festival on November 18 to screen the PBS documentary “Storm Lake”. A student-led panel followed the film, which included members of the Bonner Leaders Program, the Student Government Association (SGA) and The Sandspur.

Dr. Denise Cummings, Associate Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC), organized the event with her students from Media, Peace, and Justice (CMC 310) and Peace Through Film (rFLA 200).

“I was very excited about this panel, and I think [the panelists]really answered everything from such a place of passion and making changes, ”Cummings said.

“Storm Lake” follows the trials of a family newspaper, The Storm Lake Times, confronted with information deserts, national politics and COVID-19. According to PBS.orgIn Storm Lake, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Art Cullen and his family are dedicated to keeping the newspaper alive – whether it’s hell or a pandemic. ”

The question-and-answer panelists included Hannah Butcher (’22), editor-in-chief of The Sandspur; Trinideé Mercado (’23), editor-in-chief of The Sandspur and senator of the student media organization SGA; Madison Bailey (’23), writer for The Sandspur; and Taryn Green (’24), Bonner Leader and CMC major.

“Local journalism is what will unite us,” Bailey said. “This will increase the political participation of the community and make them hyper aware of the issues that could greatly affect them. “

The panel was moderated by SGA President Daniel Elliot, who asked about the media’s tendency to focus on negative stories, the disconnect between national and local media, the challenges of local print media and the challenges that social media presents to journalism. .

“Storm Lake” opens this season Indie Lens Pop-up Program, in which a total of five films will be screened nationally and independently. Upcoming screenings include “Missing in Brooks County”, “A part,” “Writing with fire” and “Try harder.”

Elliot said, “We pay so much attention to the national media and everything is so nationalized. And it really puts everything in perspective. It’s the small communities that matter – it’s the small [news]papers.”

Audience member Alex Pelletier (’25) said: “Rollins, and of course The Sandspur, strive to keep journalism alive. […] It is essential because it provides information to the public, enables people to make informed decisions and serves as a witness to current events and history.

Cummings and Elliot both agreed that they wanted more members of the Rollins community to attend events like this. Elliot also mentioned how events like the screening and the panel aim to bring the community together through in-person discussions.

“Students always say they are fed up with [the]virtual events, ”said Elliot. “So [they]can come to these now. […] and we have to not only encourage them, but make them feel that they are going to get something really, really good out of these events.

Those interested can watch “Storm Lake” and learn more about the film. here.


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