PANEL: Classes and Covid-19

We are back and our panel is joining us now. Nadine Bourne is on the post Washington’s podcast hosts. She’s a current graduate student at Georgetown University’s Master’s in journalism program, acting as a freelance journalist and radio and broadcasting. Elena Kefalogianni is also a master student in Georgetown University’s journalism program and the current secretary of Georgetown University’s the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked with CNN, Greece and has published fiction writing and several stories with CNN. She is also an Onasis scholar. Let’s first discuss the coverage of issues like the Coronavirus and then we will jump to a dean for conversations on the broader marches and civil unrest in America. Elena and your experience our student journalists handling this properly, how have they been covering Coronavirus?

So I would say that in the US, we have seen more and more students getting engaged with getting internships with media organizations and with finding or at least having some opportunities to travel or work with bigger media outside of their college campus newspaper. It is very different in Greece, if we were to compare it to the States, because students who are attending university for journalism, they’re only good chances to publish in their universities newspaper, most of the media don’t actually offer or have open places for internships. And that’s mostly a funding issue, but also the fact that it’s not so common for a university student to be able to work in one of the very few media outlets that we do have in my country. And as far as Coronavirus. In particular, Greece has been one of the countries who took it very seriously at the start with a very heavy lockdown where people couldn’t actually leave their houses unless they got government permission. So the media and most professional journalism have taken a really deep dive in covering that which has kind of left out students and opportunities for student journalism to have the same part that the professional journalists do have. And since our media are also more consolidated and in union with the government, I think that it allows for less coverage to go to people who are less experienced.

But when it comes to giving a voice to the young people, what, what avenues do they take, I mean, are general people reading college publications, how are young people getting their voice out?

I would say that not a lot of people are actually reading college publications. I didn’t in fact know if it was going to be possible for me to get an internship until I ended up like contacting different media outlets myself, for example, some big ones in Greece is CNN, Greece that I worked for, as well as Kathy Mary knee, which is kind of like the biggest one, but it’s not as recognizable as CNN. And so that’s why I made my choice to go with CNN. But um, in terms of students, most of them go on social media to get reporting out. So Instagram is very big people have their own blogs. But there’s definitely not enough student journalism on bigger outlets. And in fact, I would say that you would have to have some prior experience or know some people in order to be able to get your work published in one of those big media organizations. Just because, like, again, it we’re very consolidated. And there’s a lot of union within the media, which is good. So there’s not enough misinformation. But it also falls in the hands of the few more experienced journalists.

Definitely a tough situation all around. Nadine, bringing it back stateside, we know what’s been going on at universities across the country with these Coronavirus cases on how do you feel the student journalists have been covering what’s going on in their campuses in turn in terms of cases being reported or not being reported? students being welcomed back to campus and then told they need to leave? Again? How do you feel about the coverage?

The coverage has definitely been mixed throughout last month and a half. I know a lot of schools did start opening back up in late August. It’s it’s hard. And it’s difficult when you have a virus that’s so unpredictable. And you don’t know who’s the carrier and who’s not a carrier for this. So I think in some ways, student journalists and college papers are trying to do the best that they can with updating their campuses very well. I think one thing about a lot of people, or maybe a lot of faculty members on colleges don’t really include our on campus students versus off campus students and how those off campus living students can wildly affect the cases on campus as well. And that’s something you know, nobody really talks about. And we need to be more concerned about students who are off campus because we’re their policies, you know, can they go and visit other friends? Can they go on campus and to visit other friends and buildings I know, at Boston University, if you live in one building, and your friend lives in another dorm building, your friend can come and visit you. That’s strictly forbidden, no guest policies. So I really wonder how off campus policies differ from that, or if they don’t differ at all, and our student journalists on on college campuses, putting those numbers into the overall numbers as well.

I’m glad that you mentioned that I actually remember reading from the editorial board of the Daily Tar Heel, that they were basically saying, you know, the university should have known that when students would come back, they would be reckless, they would be not necessarily following the rules and that it was basically the university’s fault for not putting more rules in place or for basically not telling students to stay home. So how do you feel about that? Do you think it is solely the university’s fault? Or do you think students should have some of the liability?

No, definitely students do have a liability for that, you know, universities put restrictions for the safety of the students. And I think up to that point, that is the university’s responsibility. Now, after that, it’s up to the students on whether or not they want to follow it. So if students don’t want to follow the restrictions, and the rules are set in place for specifically, their safety, you might be seen, you know, in an increase in cases and so students definitely have to take on that responsibility of what am I doing to ensure my safety? What am I doing to ensure the safety of the people that are also surrounding me? So if you have roommates, if you have a significant other that’s on campus as well? Are you really going to take that risk, to go to a party to go out and hang out with people you know, at a local bar if bars are open in that area, just for the sake of hanging out knowing that there’s a whole pandemic here knowing that 1000s hundreds of 1000s of people have been dying already from the spiral. How much of a risk is a student willing to take for that? You know,

Nadine, thank you so much for taking the time to join me. Elena will stick around for an interview with our international producer and host on esperion after a short break, don’t want to miss.

Author: Ivy Lyons

I’ve enjoyed working as a student journalist, printing my own newsletters, and encouraging contextualized, rich discussions of what matters most. I currently produce and host podcasts, contribute to news outlets and continue my education as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.

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